Ireland’s pharma exports to the US are set to exceed €24bn in 2019, a 50% increase from 2018 and a record high year.
As the biggest EU exporter of pharmaceuticals to the US, Ireland is boosted by continued FDI and strong transatlantic trade links, which have grown rapidly in recent years, however, leading economist Dan O’Brien, stated that the United States’ trade war with China could serve as a warning for the burgeoning industry.
“These figures are great news for the pharma sector and our exports generally, however, as a country which conducts more pharma trade with the US than anywhere else in the EU, we are the most exposed European region and as a result, vulnerable to potential transatlantic trade conflicts.”
“As we close in on the upcoming US election, we should be cognisant of potential trading volatility, having seen Donald Trump punish both China and Canada this year, and we know he is no great fan of the EU. That said, Ireland’s relationship with the US has historically been a positive one, and with ever-deepening investment links between the two countries, there is reason to remain optimistic about the relationship.”
The Impact of Ireland’s Growing Pharma Sector
Economic research conducted by Ardlinn was launched at a C level Business Leaders’ event in Dublin which demonstrated the impact that the sector has had, highlighting the forecasted €24bn export value.
The event hosted by Ardlinn in association with Ibec was attended by a range of Ireland’s leading pharma businesses with Dan O’Brien, Chief Economist at the Institute of International and European Affairs as guest speaker.
2019 has to date seen US plans to impose significant tariffs on the EU following a long-term battle on Airbus / Boeing, with tax hikes on items including; scotch whiskey, French wine and cheese now advanced, all serving as a warning for Ireland’s pharma sector. Dan urged caution in this regard:
“Ireland’s trade with the United States equals that of Canada with the United States, and when we consider that those two countries share a 3,000-mile land border, this is a significant statistic.
However, looking ahead we cannot ignore the prospect of the US administration making moves to bring some of this trade back home, therefore highlighting our skills, expertise and return on investment is now more crucial than ever.”
Áine Brolly, Founder and Director of Ardlinn commented on the sector’s outlook and challenges:
“Pharma has been a hugely important sector for Ireland for a number of years now, and when we reflect on what amounts to a 50% increase in exports from 2018 to 2019, we can see clearly just how well it is performing as we head for 2020.
In the last 20 years, the number of people working in pharma has doubled, with the sector now supporting more than 40,000 jobs, that said, we cannot be complacent and must take steps to mitigate risks for this crucial export market.
Danny McCoy, CEO of Ibec also talked about the sector’s growth:
“Exports at record levels from the BioPharma sector represent a remarkable achievement. Given the wider political and economic uncertainties from factors like Brexit, this is even more impressive. Now is not the time to be complacent, and I urge the government and business to take proactive steps to ensure the sustainability of our exports.”
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*Economic modelling at the Q3 point in 2019 shows Ireland has already almost reached its previous overall record of €16.8bn in 2018 (€16,149,099,000 as of end September), with figures extrapolated from data sets as produced by Central Statistics Office Ireland.