Trading places: Continuity and change in Northern Ireland's trading relationships

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Northern Ireland’s external trading relations for 2011-22 were analysed using the NISRA, ‘Northern Ireland economic trade statistics’. The major geographical markets were considered: Northern Ireland itself, Ireland, Great Britain (GB), rest of EU and rest of the world.
In volume terms exports and external sales of goods declined during 2011-22. There was considerable growth of services.
Trade integration between Northern Ireland and Ireland was considered as one indicator of the all-island economy. For both goods and services, especially the former, Northern Ireland sales to Ireland out-grew those going to GB during 2011-22. Potential explanations were considered: development of cross-border supply chains, impact on aggregate figures of the closure/contraction of a small number of larger firms and InterTradeIreland interventions.
Data for 2021 and 2022 were used to consider impact of the Protocol: more rapid growth in Northern Ireland purchases of goods from Ireland than from GB may indicate trade diversion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-163
Number of pages34
JournalIrish Studies in International Affairs
Issue number2
Early online date3 Jun 2024
Publication statusPublished online - 3 Jun 2024


  • Northern Ireland
  • Great Britain
  • UK
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Ireland
  • EU
  • Trade
  • Exports
  • External trade
  • Export led growth
  • Trade diversion
  • Single Market
  • Brexit
  • Protocol
  • Windsor Framework
  • Safeguarding the Union


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