June 12, 2024
Government failure to support SME exporting damaging the economy – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on enterprise, trade, and employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, said the government’s failure to increase small and medium business exporting levels is damaging the economy.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Businesses who export generally perform stronger across key performance indicators, including employment and productivity; therefore, Sinn Féin believe expanding participation in exporting will improve broader economic performance, especially for our small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

“Unfortunately, figures released to me show that under the watch of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, SME export levels have remained static, at around 3 percent.

“In 2019 just 3.2 per cent, or 11,000 of the roughly 350,000 active Irish SMEs were classified as exporters. In 2020, the figure was 2.9 per cent, in 2021, it hovered at 3 per cent, and provisional figures for 2022 indicate that the number of exporting SMEs is projected to drop to 2.8 percent.

“The failure to increase the number of SMEs who export is damaging in terms of growth opportunities as international trade is strongly linked to better overall economic performance.

“For instance, the small number of SMEs who do export goods account for almost a quarter of total domestic value added across the SME sector – over €30 billion per year.

“The greater economic performance of exporting SMEs is especially true in smaller states, such as Ireland, where the size of the domestic market limits the ability of firms to achieve economies of scale.

“That the government have failed to increase SME exporting during their tenure in government is a serious cause for concern and is damaging the economy.

“Strengthening the Irish-owned exporting sector, particularly from the existing large cohort of non-exporting SMEs, and regularising irregular exporters, must be a priority.

“Central to this is helping with the development of international markets and tailoring strategy to increase exporting amongst domestic firms.

“It is essential that policy, training, and government funding is adapted to meet the needs of current and prospective exporters.”

: The Parliamentary Question response is available to view here

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