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Tánaiste welcomes strong agri-food export numbers in difficult global trading environment


The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore TD, has welcomed the continued strong performance of Irish agri-food exporters, as the effect of the so-called “patent cliff” continues to weigh on Irish exports.

The Tánaiste noted the latest merchandise trade figures, published by the CSO, which show that goods exports in November 2013 were down 5 percent on the previous month, reflecting the continuing impact of the pharmaceutical patent cliff.  

Chemical and pharmaceutical products account for approximately 60 percent of Ireland’s goods exports and 88 percent of the decrease in exports seen to date in 2013.

Exports of food and live animals were up €16 million, or 2%, for the month, compared with November 2012.

Commenting on the figures, the Tánaiste said:

“I would stress that the effects of the so-called ‘patent cliff’ have been well signalled and were built in to the Government’s projections for 2013. And while merchandise exports have been affected throughout 2013, as anticipated, services exports, which accounted for almost half of our total exports of €182 billion in 2012, continue to grow and are likely to outperform merchandise exports for the first time once final figures for 2013 are released.

I am also encouraged by the steady growth we have seen in food and drink exports throughout 2013, with Bord Bia reporting record exports for the year.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Chair of the Export Trade Council, I will continue to ensure that the coordination of the Government’s efforts, and the close collaboration between our Embassy network and the State agencies, will support our exporting companies to win new business and create additional jobs in the year ahead.

I also look forward to publishing the Review of the Government Strategy for Trade, Tourism and Investment in the coming weeks.”



Press Office

17 January 2014



  • The CSO release on merchandise trade figures for November 2013 is available at this link.
  • The preliminary export figure for November 2013 - €7bn - represents a seasonally-adjusted decrease in exports of €327 million (or -5%) when compared with October 2013. Compared with November 2012, the figure represents a decrease of €607 million (or -7%).
  • The most recent CSO figures on services exports are available here. They show that services exports for the first three quarters of 2013 were up by 3.8% on the same period in 2012.
  • Comparing November 2013 with November 2012, the principal causes of the decline in exports are decreases in medical and pharmaceutical products (by €572 million or -25%) and organic chemicals (by €158 million or -8%). In the same period, exports of food and live animals increased by €16 million (2%), and machinery and transport equipment increased by €95 million (11%).
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is leading the Review of the Government Strategy for Trade, Tourism and Investment in close collaboration with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and other Government Departments and State Agencies involved in promoting trade, tourism and investment.
  • The Review is designed to ensure that the State coordinates its efforts overseas in a manner which yields the best possible economic return.