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Tánaiste welcomes record goods exports of €165.2bn for 2021

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, and Minister with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Robert Troy TD, today welcomed the latest Goods Exports and Imports release from the Central Statistics Office, with preliminary figures showing that the value of goods exports from Ireland rose to €165.2bn in 2021, the highest level on record.

The value of goods exports increased by €3.081bn or 2% when compared to 2020.

The US continues to be Ireland’s biggest single goods export market, accounting for €52,526 million, or almost 31.8%, of total exports in 2021. This is an increase of €1,990 million (+3.9%) on the 2020 value.

The EU accounted for €61,445 million (37%) of total exports in 2021.

Exports to non-EU countries (excluding the UK) were valued at €85,663 million in 2021, which is an increase of €2,461 million (+2.9%) on the 2020 level of exports.

Exports to Great Britain in 2021 were €14,409 million, which is an increase of €2,100 million (+17%) compared with 2020. Exports to Great Britain accounted for 9% of total exports in 2021. Exports to Northern Ireland were €3,696 million in 2021, an increase of €1,290 million (+54%) on 2020.

The largest category of goods exports was medical and pharmaceutical products. Exports of these goods accounted for 38% of all exports, or €62,631 million, in 2021 (an increase of €535 million, or +1%, on the 2020 value).

Commenting on today’s figures, the Tánaiste said:

“Ireland has an export orientated economy. International trade sustains hundreds of thousands of jobs all over the country and keeps thousands of firms in business. Ireland’s prosperity is founded on the goods we produce and services we provide and sell abroad. We should never be complacent about the need to maintain pro-enterprise policies and be supportive of free trade.

“Ireland’s export-led traded sector continued to perform extraordinarily well in 2021. Despite the challenges posed by both the pandemic and Brexit, the value of our exports reached their highest ever level last year.

“The EU accounted for 37% of total exports on 2021, however we also saw significant growth in our exports to non-EU countries, including the USA and Great Britain. This demonstrates the diversity of our exporters and their ability to trade successfully in global markets.

“The Government will continue to help companies diversify and discover new markets, and reap the benefits of free trade agreements. We will also assist our indigenous enterprise sector to navigate the changes being brought about by Brexit to our trading relationship with the UK.” 

The latest Goods Exports and Imports statistics were also welcomed by Mr Robert Troy, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation who commented:

“Trade has been and will continue to be a key factor in Ireland’s export-led recovery. It supports jobs creation across the country, funds vital infrastructure, and improves living standards for all. 

“Our exports have continued to perform strongly in global markets and 2021 has seen the value of our exports reach historically high levels. The Government continues to work closely with our enterprise agencies to support exporters in expanding their reach into existing markets while also identifying new trading markets.

“The UK remains a very important market for Irish goods and the value of Irish exports to Great Britain and Northern Ireland increased significantly in 2021.  We will continue to encourage this trading relationship with the UK and also support our export sector in growing the value of exports in markets beyond the UK.”


The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department has lead responsibility for Irish policy on global trade and inward investment and a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.