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Cross-border traders outperforming others

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Businesses that trade across the border are performing better than those that don’t, new data shows.

The latest all-island business monitor from InterTradeIreland reveals that over 40% of cross border traders are in growth mode, compared with 26% of firms with no cross border sales.

Companies that trade across the border also reported stronger sales growth and higher profit margins.

32% of cross-border traders said they had a profit margin of over 10%, compared to 21% of those that don’t trade cross-border.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Peter Burke, said today’s report highlights the advantages that can be gained by businesses exporting across the border.

“Figures from the CSO show that cross-border trade in goods alone was valued at €10.1 billion in 2023,” he said.

“The findings also suggest there are further opportunities for cross-border trade, particularly in supply chains.

“I would encourage businesses to continue to build supply chains on the island as we know they add value in the long-run,” he added.

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The survey found that one in ten businesses are having difficulty sourcing some products or services.

40% of these companies said they are aware that these products can be found on the island, which InterTradeIreland said points to a market opportunity.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Martin Robinson, InterTradeIreland’s Director of Strategy said this issue is mainly impacting the pharmaceutical sector and the food and drink sector.

Despite an easing of headline inflation in both jurisdictions, costs remain the key concern for businesses, with energy bills, supplies and wages the most significant factors.

40% of businesses said the cost of wages is a challenge.

Mr Robinson said the labour market for staff across the island is very tight, with competition driving up wages.

“According to our data, all sectors are still hiring but larger SMEs are feeling the pressure more than most, with 42% last quarter reporting an intent to hire,” he said.

“This quarter that figure has reduced to 28%,” he added.

Mr Robinson said companies are dealing with persistent difficulties recruiting staff, and finding people with the correct skills.

“InterTradeIreland and our partner agencies can help businesses to innovate and to utilise technology and automation to mitigate skills challenges and drive productivity,” he said.

Today’s report shows that 40% of companies have adjusted to the post-Brexit trading arrangements, which Mr Robinson said is encouraging.

When asked about sustainability and net zero, 59% of companies surveyed said it is an important policy priority, but 37% said it is not.

Only 19% of those surveyed have a sustainability or net zero plan in place, while 12% have one in development.

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