Comment: Irish-Scots connection remains key to trade

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The trading relationship between Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland is a significant one, with around 17 per cent of total exports from Ireland heading to the UK, according to Department of Finance, and Scottish exports to Ireland exceeding £1.8 billion in 2018 according to Enterprise Ireland.

The value of trade between Scotland and Ireland has increased by 132 per cent since 2012, but with ongoing Brexit negotiations, this continued growth is less than certain. However, the potential is still very much there. At Causeway, the flourishing membership organisation strengthening ties across the Irish Sea, we are helping our members in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland to reap the potential business benefits.

Exploring new markets can bring recruitment advantages via a wider talent pool, a broader outreach with opportunities to export to larger markets and additional investment prospects. As a Scottish business exploring opportunities in Ireland and Northern Ireland, you can give yourself a competitive advantage.

Collaboration is the key to fostering economic ties between Scotland and Ireland and this is a major benefit of being a Causeway member. As the only member organisation with a focus on supporting business growth across Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland, we open up opportunities to build connections through thought-provoking content, access to the membership database and numerous networking events.

With a shared objective of strengthening trade and relationships between businesses in the UK and Ireland, we recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with fellow membership organisation British and Irish Trading Alliance (BITA).

This MOU will give members access to a wider network of connections for shared advice, support and trade.

The signing of this MOU is a positive step forward in our mission to strengthen business ties between Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Despite Brexit and ongoing discussions around the backstop, trade continues across the Irish Sea and we believe this MOU demonstrates our commitment to nurturing this.

There is no doubt that similarities, both culturally and historically, between Scotland and Ireland make the prospect of entering the respective markets more palatable. However, this is not to say that there aren’t significant differences as to how we do business.

It’s clear that Scotland and Ireland need each other to continue – and maintain – mutual growth. It’s also clear that the opportunities are out there.

There is, of course, a future beyond the current political and legislative turmoil and it is clear, whatever the outcome, that Scotland and Ireland need each other to maintain economic success.

- David Greenlees, chair of Causeway