Business Environment in Ireland
The Irish economy was seriously affected by the international financial crisis because of its extensive in-sourcing, its high level of financialization and the importance of real estate in the active economy. It was the first European country to go into recession and it should restore a positive growth in 2011. From -7.6% in 2009, the contraction of GDP was reduced to -0.3% in 2010, due to the slow progress in the exports of chemical and pharmaceutical products.
In the context of a reduction of fiscal revenues and an increase in social costs, the priority of the government remains in restricting expenditures, reorganizing public finance, stabilizing the bank system and improving competitiveness. The objective is to bring the public deficit to 3% of GDP from now until 2014, against 12.8% where it stands now.
The unemployment rate, which was low in 2007, started to rise since 2008 and could reach more than 13% today.
|GDP (billions USD)||222.36||204.26||212.79||217.44e||224.30|
|GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)||-7.6||-1.0e||0.5||1.9e||2.4|
|GDP per Capita (USD)||49,863||45,689||47,751||48,954e||50,127|
|General Government Balance (in % of GDP)||-9.6e||-8.0||-5.9e||-5.7e||-4.8|
|Inflation Rate (%)||-1.7||-1.6e||0.5||0.5||1.4e|
|Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force)||11.8||13.6e||14.5||13.3e||12.8|
|Current Account (billions USD)||-6.71||0.85||-0.19||-0.10||-|
|Current Account (in % of GDP)||-2.9||0.4||-0.1||-0.0||-|
Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database
Note: (e) Estimated Data
Main Sectors of Industry
Agriculture remains a key sector despite its small part of the GNP (3%). The government is trying to consolidate its role in the economy by modernizing it and by expanding the food-processing industries (beef, dairy products, potatoes, barley and wheat).
Ireland’s recent industrial development has been achieved by an intentional policy promoting high-tech companies to export and, in part, by offering attractive packages to investors. This sector contributes to more than one third of the GNP. Textiles, chemical and electronic products have, in particular, obtained high results.
The service sector (approximately two-thirds of the GNP), banking and finance have experienced such a large growth that Dublin counts now with a sizable international financial center and tourism has become a substantial source for foreign exchange revenues (5% the GNP).
|Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
|Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment)||5.6||25.7||68.1|
|Value Added (in % of GDP)||1.0||31.2||67.8|
|Value Added (Annual % Change)||8.4||-4.6||-7.3|
Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.
|Euro (EUR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD||0.80||0.80||0.73||0.68||0.72|
Source: World Bank
Indicator of Economic Freedom
- Mostly free
- World Rank:
- Regional Rank:
Foreign Trade in Figures
Ireland is a very open economy and therefore very dependent on international situations. During the period 2007-2009, trade represented 156.5% of the GDP.
After the international economic crisis, the structural trade surplus strongly increased due to the fall of imports combined recently with some resistance in exports.
The main imports are machinery and equipment, oil and petroleum products, textiles and clothing. The main exports are computers, chemical and pharmaceutical products, live animals and animal products.
Ireland's main trade partners are the European Union and the United States.
|Foreign Trade Indicators||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010|
|Imports of Goods (million USD)||73,118||83,822||83,965||62,704||59,123|
|Exports of Goods (million USD)||108,726||121,544||125,720||115,928||117,218|
|Imports of Services (million USD)||80,050||94,487||110,703||104,199||105,994|
|Exports of Services (million USD)||70,992||92,286||99,265||92,112||95,093|
|Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||6.4||7.8||-2.9||-9.7||-|
|Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||4.4||-||-||-||-|
|Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||69.9||71.3||73.6||73.6||-|
|Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||79.6||80.3||82.6||88.5||-|
|Trade Balance (million USD)||31,888||27,126||34,713||44,960||-|
|Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD)||22,550||25,503||27,020||-||-|
|Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)||149.5||151.6||156.2||162.1||-|
Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank
Main Partner Countries
(% of Exports)
|Other partnersClose extended list||33.9%|
(% of Imports)
|Other partnersClose extended list||35.8%|
Sources of General Economic Information
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Industrial Development Agency
- Statistical Office
Central Statistics Office
- Central Bank
European Central Bank
Central Bank and Financial Services Authority
- Stock Exchange
Irish Stock Exchange
- Search Engines
- Economic Portals
The Economic and Social Research Institute
- Executive Power
- President, chief of state and Prime Minister (Taoiseach), head of government.
- Legislative Power
- Bicameral national Parliament (Oireachtas): House of Representatives (Dail) and Senate (Seanad).
- Main Political Parties
- - Fianna Fail: represents the tradition that rejected the treaty because the present six counties of Northern Ireland were excluded from the outset.
- Fine Gael: Fine Gael represents the tradition that accepted the treaty as a stepping-stone to an eventual republic of the whole island.
- Others: Labor, Progressive Democrats, Green Party, Sinn Fein.
- Current Political Leaders
- President: Mary McAleese, since November 1997, reelected in October 2004 (Fianna Fail)
Prime Minister: Enda KENNY (since 9 March 2011)
- Next Election Dates
- Presidential elections: October 2011
Indicator of Freedom of the Press
- World Rank:
- 3 places up compared to 2008
Indicator of Political Freedom
- Political Freedom:
- Civil Liberties:
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