Growth of exports to the UK slump to 2%

Irish exports to the UK endured a significant slowdown during the year Britain voted to leave the European Union, an industry report has found.

Export growth slipped to 2% in 2016 after expanding by 12% a year earlier, with the lion's share of the fall coming from a drop in food exports, according to figures based on Enterprise Ireland's clients.

The value of exports from Ireland into the UK stood at €7.5bn last year, the report said.

Marina Donohoe, Enterprise Ireland's director for UK and Northern Ireland, said: "Trade between the UK and Ireland stands at €1bn, supporting over 200,000 jobs in each country.

"We are determined to uphold these strong trade relations going forward, helping Irish companies deepen their collaboration with the UK."

Despite the UK decline, global exports from Ireland rose by 6% to €21.6bn last year, with sales to the US and Canada climbing 19% to €3.7bn over the period.

Enterprise Ireland said it was targeting a 50% rise in exports to the eurozone by 2020.

Irish premier Enda Kenny said his country's firms were finding new trading avenues in the face of economic uncertainty.

He said: "Following the UK's decision to leave the EU the Government immediately acted to ensure our enterprise agencies had additional resources in order to offer all available assistance to our exporters to prepare for the challenges posed by Brexit."

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