Connecting Business – Growing Opportunities

The importance of Scottish-Irish Trade

Scotland and Ireland have a unique, long-standing relationship, combined with a rich and connected Celtic heritage that has ensured an age-old bond across the Irish sea. 


At Causeway, we are passionate about nurturing the relationship between Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland for the benefit of businesses in each distinct market.


Our organisation is apolitical, and we strive to facilitate a friendly and approachable business space to help retain and drive strong economic and cultural connections between the three nations. We strongly believe in the importance of strengthening these relationships and promoting Scottish-Irish trade.



Flourishing trade


According to a study by Causeway member Enterprise Ireland, trade relationships between Scotland and Ireland are on the rise, with exports in each direction increasing by over 100% since 2012.


Ireland is also the fourth largest Foreign Direct Investor in Scotland and Scottish-Irish trade is up by 130% over the last five years. And, as of a 2021 report, Ireland is Scotland’s 6th largest export market (outwith the oil and gas industry) accounting for 3.6% of total exports. These statistics point to an already strong and flourishing trade relationship with the potential for further economic growth through the promotion of Scottish-Irish trade relations.



Growing the relationship


Government initiatives like the Scotland-Ireland Bilateral Review aim to consolidate the existing ties between and unlock the further untapped potential in many areas of the Scottish-Irish relationship.


According to this review, there are 150 Irish companies currently operating in Scotland, employing 8,470 people with a combined turnover of £3.78 billion.  These figures show what a huge impact Irish businesses have on Scotland’s economy, and it is those relationships between Scottish and Irish businesses that Causeway helps to foster and develop. 


The Irish Government has also put measures in place to support growth across the Irish Sea. Through Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government has committed to consolidating and growing Irish exports to Scotland and the UK from now into the future with Enterprise Ireland client exports to Scotland growing by 44% over the 10 years from 2008-2018. The government measures in place have not only promoted but also directly affected Scottish-Irish trade and the figures from these studies outlines the positive implications these trade relations have on the economic growth of both nations.





The main aim of the Bilateral Review, which began in 2019, was to “consolidate existing ties in the context of a new international environment, and to unlock the further untapped potential in many areas of the Scottish-Irish relationship”.  The purpose of the review put collaboration at its core, forging a joint analysis of the state of the current relationship, signposting shared ambitions and ultimately realising the potential for future growth in the Scottish-Irish relationship.


The review finds that cooperation on the economic relationship between nations has been strong due to the potential of shared industries that underpin both economies. The exploration of tapping into the renewable energy industry is one of the goals set out by both governments as Ireland and Scotland share significant geographic advantages that provide the potential to become world leaders in wind, tidal and wave technology. The review found that renewable energy provides particularly good scope for shared learning and activity in order to increase Scottish-Irish economic cooperation. On a regional level, cooperation is also taking place with the implementation of Co-Innovate – a European Interreg programme aimed at increasing the number of SMEs participating in cross-border and transnational research projects. 


In order to realise the scale of the goals and trade opportunities for both Scotland and Ireland set out in this review, it will be essential to engage with senior Scottish business and political leaders, which is one of the ways Causeway can help.



Causeway’s role


These efforts not only support Scottish-Irish relations but also highlight the necessity and importance of strengthened trade between these nations, which is directly aligned with our primary objectives at Causeway. We are committed to providing support and networking opportunities for our existing members wherever possible through the events and activities we host in both the island of Ireland and Scotland.


We believe that it is essential to reinforce Scottish, Irish and Northern Irish trade relations and welcome building new business relationships and partnerships to grow our network further on both sides of the Irish Sea. The Causeway Business Exchange not only supports these relationships but also facilitates them by providing a forum to assist entrepreneurs and companies operating or seeking to operate in Ireland or Scotland. Our ultimate aim is to form a two-way platform for engagement between business and the Irish and Scottish governments.


If you are a part of a Scottish, Irish or Northern Irish business and would like to participate in networking opportunities, join our well-connected network today.


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