Massive increase in cross border trade…

While a border poll may be some years off yet, economic reunification seems to be going from strength to strength. From the Guardian report:

Northern Ireland and Ireland are enjoying what appears to be a €4bn (£3.4bn) boost, with inter-country trade booming in both directions post Brexit, figures reveal.

Official government data released in Dublin by the Central Statistics Office showed that imports from Northern Ireland to Ireland increased 23% to €1.9bn between January and May 2022 compared with the same period in 2021.

Trade in the other direction, from Ireland to Northern Ireland, rocketed by 42% to €1.9bn in the same comparative periods.

The increase in movement of food and live animals from Northern Ireland to Ireland was dramatic, rising €119m to €544m.

However, there was a bigger increase in the sale of energy, recorded as “mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials” and likely to refer to North Sea oil and gas.

Sales to Ireland doubled in value from €106m to €218m in the first five months of this year compared with the same period in 2021.

The rise may partly reflect the increase in energy prices this year but also suggests a change in sources as Europe continues to wean itself off Russian supplies in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

The figures also show that imports from Great Britain to the Irish republic have increased, up from €5.2bn in January to May 2021 to €9.3bn in January to May 2022.

The FT reported that London and Northern Ireland are the only UK regions showing economic growth;

Allow this interpretation is questioned by some, here is the NISRA data.

My only concern is how much of this trade is real business and not just financial moves. For example, I noticed that Sainsbury’s products now list a Northern Ireland company. If previously Sainsbury’s sales figures were aggregated and recorded in London but now they go via the Northern Ireland business then on paper it looked like a massive increase in sales but in reality, nothing much has changed.

Putting aside the Brexit schadenfreude for a minute, it is good that the Northern Ireland economy is benefiting from the NI Protocol. Jobs are jobs, as the great John Hume once remarked, ‘you can’t eat a flag’. Unless you are this guy…

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