Exporting to the Republic of Ireland

Top five tips for exporting to the Republic of Ireland

In 2015, the Republic of Ireland accounted for 61 per cent of Northern Ireland’s exports to the EU and for 34 per cent of Northern Ireland’s total exports.

The Republic of Ireland offers unique trading opportunities to businesses in Northern Ireland – follow these top tips to help you get started.

1. Research potential opportunities

When planning to trade with the Republic of Ireland, you need to research the best markets and regions to target. The country has a well-developed knowledge-based economy. Growth areas include:

  • information and communications technology (ICT)
  • life sciences
  • clean tech
  • energy
  • food and drink

You can access market research support on the Republic of Ireland through Invest NI's Business Information Centre. InterTradeIreland can also assist you with market intelligence on business opportunities and trends.

2. Identify key contacts
To establish your trade in the Republic of Ireland you need to identify the key players in your target market. Also, consider the best way to sell your product or service. The trading options will depend on what you are selling, and include:

  • selling directly online
  • partnership with a local business
  • setting up a local office

Your decision on how to trade can have major legal and financial implications. Expert advice is essential. Invest Northern Ireland and InterTradeIreland can help you find contacts.

3. Visit the market
A well planned market visit to the Republic of Ireland can expand your knowledge and contacts. It allows you to meet potential customers while researching the market. It is important to have clear objectives for any visit you plan. When researching a market, it is important to investigate:

  • potential competitors' pricing
  • consumer behaviour
  • opportunities for promoting your products or services

You may also want to use the visit to identify potential partners or distributors and generate sales leads. Read more about market visits to the Republic of Ireland.

4. Consider the culture
The business and consumer cultures of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are similar. The Republic of Ireland shares many cultural values with Northern Ireland. Be aware that public holidays in Republic of Ireland differ from those in Northern Ireland.

Also, if you set up a base in the Republic of Ireland, you will need to comply with their employment law. For example, you will need to follow new regulations on wages, the maximum number of hours worked and holidays.

Read more about business and consumer culture in the Republic of Ireland.

5. Know about tax
If you are trading with the Republic of Ireland, you will need to consider tax issues. These will depend on your products or services. The Republic of Ireland’s 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate on trading income is one of the lowest ‘onshore’ statutory corporate tax rates in the world.

If you want to set up a subsidiary in the Republic of Ireland, you should know that their tax year runs from 1 January to 31 December. This differs from the UK tax year, which runs from 6 April to the following 5 April.

Read more about tax issues when trading with the Republic of Ireland.