Enterprise Ireland saw exports by companies it supports remain steady in 2020 despite the immense challenges encountered during the year. This is according to the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar.
Enterprise Ireland said that the outlook for Irish exporters was positive and that Irish exporters surveyed by the agency were anticipating a boost in export sales by the end of 2021, of up to 8%, based on economies around the world recovering from Covid-19, opening up and restrictions being lifted. The state agency said the actual outcome will depend on developments during the year in terms of both the course of the pandemic and on global market conditions.
In the first half of 2021, Enterprise Ireland saw positive signs of growth:
• 585 new contract wins, a 14% increase compared to the same period in 2020
• 173 new client overseas presences
• A doubling of engagement with companies looking to export into the Eurozone rising from 108 in the first five months of 2020 to 247 for the same period this year
• 2365 virtual meetings between Irish exporters and international buyers
Enterprise Ireland has already physically reopened 27 of its 40 overseas offices, and that it plans to physically reopen the remaining 13 international offices in the third quarter and fourth quarter, subject to Covid-19 restrictions. It is also planning to recommence its programme of in-market trade missions from September to the UK, Eurozone, North America and the Middle East.
Commenting on the results the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar said, "2020 was a year like no other and Irish businesses pivoted and innovated to ensure they could continue to trade and, in some cases, increase or win new business. However, like our domestic economy, there were some sectors that have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic."
He added, "The hospitality, travel and education services sectors for example, witnessed a severe contraction in 2020. Government policy since the outset of the pandemic has been to support these businesses, to sustain them and their staff until trading conditions improve."