Superior performance of cross-border traders shows need for Derry to lever advantage, says McLaughlin

A new report showing companies that trade across the border significantly outperform those which don’t indicates more should be done to maximise the potential of Derry’s economy, a local MLA has said.

SDLP MLA Sinéad McLaughlin said InterTradeIreland’s latest Business Monitor survey (Q2 2022) made welcome reading for the Derry and Donegal region.

The research found that 41 per cent of companies surveyed that export cross-border said they were enjoying rapid to moderate expansion.

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This is almost double compared to non-cross-border traders (21 per cent).

SDLP MLA Sinéad McLaughlin

The survey further found that over three quarters of cross-border traders (78 per cent) described themselves as profitable compared to 51 per cent of firms that do not sell into the opposite jurisdiction.

Ms. McLaughlin said: “It’s clear that those businesses operating cross-border trade are more likely to experience growth, record higher sales and remain profitable than those that do not. That’s particularly important for Derry, as the capital of a cross-border region and I believe that there is much more that could be done to recognise our city’s potential.

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“We have the chance to seize an opportunity for Derry here, including by creating a strategy to maximises the potential for cross-border trade offered to us by the NI Protocol. Agencies in Northern Ireland including Invest NI should also be working jointly with InterTradeIreland to promote the North West.

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“Of course, this data also evidences that the leisure, hotel and catering sectors are struggling due to the current crisis. That’s why I have called for intervention by the Executive parties to ensure that these businesses are supported throughout a very difficult winter ahead.”

Martin Robinson, Director of Strategy at InterTradeIreland, said the superior performance of cross-border traders is a recurring trend the business development body has tracked over the last six quarterly surveys.

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He remarked: “Despite the challenges SMEs face, on the whole, cross-border trade remains remarkably robust with a higher percentage of companies who export cross border reporting profitability, growth and increased sales compared to their non-cross-border trading counterparts.

“InterTradeIreland helps businesses identify cross-border opportunities and to explore their export potential through programmes such as Elevate and Acumen and have seen first-hand how a focus on reaching new markets can help enhance productivity and sales. Recent data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows that cross-border trade in goods reached €7.65 billion in 2021 and continues to increase. In January-May 2022, Irish import trade with Northern Ireland has risen by another €356 million (23 per cent) and Irish exports to Northern Ireland have risen by €586 million (42 per cent), compared to the same period in 2021.”

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