Ireland recorded its highest ever trade value of €842 billion in 2021, according to the Irish government’s Trade and Investment Report for last year.
Growth in the economy in 2021 was driven largely by a record €451 billion of exports.
Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy, published the report.
Ireland’s record performance was set against the backdrop of ongoing trading challenges and geopolitical disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, growing protectionism, trade tensions, and global tax developments.
Almost half of Ireland’s workforce — about 1.3 million jobs — is now underpinned by international trade and investment.
Over the past decade, Ireland’s trade in goods and services has increased by 171% from €310 billion to over €840 billion.
Troy said: “Last year we recorded our best trade performance despite the difficult trading environment and ongoing global challenges.
“The Irish economy grew by 13.5%, a result of our strong export performance. Yet when it comes to trade and investment, we cannot be complacent.
“So much of our economic prosperity hinges on our trading performance. Our ability to avoid a recession in the wake of the pandemic was driven largely by our ability to attract investment and trade goods and services internationally.
“This resilience in the face of uncertainty enables us to invest in critical services and infrastructure, and is vital as we navigate continuing global uncertainty …
“The mid-year results from our enterprise agencies further underscore the impressive growth and resilience of our enterprise base. This is an excellent position to be in the first half of the year, and indications are positive for a strong continued performance in 2022.
“Enterprise Ireland and IDA do incredible work to support enterprises, from helping Irish businesses access new markets and expand their operations to attracting foreign investment into our regions.
“Our trade policy is focussed on creating jobs and improving quality of life for all across the island, but these benefits are not one-way. I have seen for myself on trade missions the value and positive impact Irish companies are making in the markets they operate.
“Our strong trading partnerships enable us to innovate and grow, it maintains competitiveness and it increases consumer choice.
“As we look ahead, we must be mindful of the trading environment; ongoing supply chain snarl ups, rising costs of energy as a result of the unjustified war in Ukraine, the need to digitise, and the urgency to address climate change each present challenges for our enterprise sector.
“Throughout the pandemic Government demonstrated its commitment to support businesses and this commitment has not waned and we will continue to support businesses through global uncertainty.”