Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rising US - recovering Ireland?

There has been some positive economic news from the US lately, falling unemployment in January for example. This is probably good news for Ireland, because Ireland is a major trading partner of the US.

The United States International Trade Commission ranks the trading partners in the US by the value of their combined exports and imports. Ireland comes 17th, which is pretty remarkable for a tiny country. The US trades more with Ireland than it does with Russia, Australia or Indonesia.

The great bulk of that trade is in exports from Ireland to the US, exports worth nearly $34 billion in 2010. Ireland exports more to the US than Italy or India.

Ireland's imports from the US are relatively much smaller, only $6.5 billion. So Ireland's trade surplus with the US is huge, around $27.3 billion.

This is actually gigantic for such a small country. Of 233 listed trading partners with the US Ireland has the 6th biggest trade surplus! Only Canada ($69.6 billion), China ($278.3 billion), Mexico ($97.2 billion), Japan ($64.2 billion) and Germany ($36.5 billion) have trade surpluses with the US larger than Ireland's. Considering that the least populous of those is Canada, and that has a population over 8 times bigger than Ireland (and shares a border with the US nearly 9,000km long, while Ireland is separated from it by a huge ocean), this is quite a surplus! Ireland even exports more than many of the oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia or Venezuela.

So all this gives me some hope that a recovery in the US could cause rising demand for exports from Ireland.

As to what Ireland exports to the US, there is this breakdown of 98 categories of trade, topped by 'organic chemicals' and 'pharmaceutical products'.

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