Cross-Border businesses growing strongly as Brexit deal hopes rise

Firms that trade across the Border are showing higher levels of growth than their peers, according to the latest InterTradeIreland survey, although rising overheads and Brexit are starting to weigh on the outlook.

In a survey of 750 firms from North and south, the joint cross-Border trade and business development body said companies that sold goods across the Border outperformed those that did not, with half saying they were growing compared with just 18pc among domestically-oriented firms.

“Brexit continues to be a significant issue, particularly for exporters as 42pc report it has already had a negative impact on sales and 38pc cite that it has impacted negatively on investment decision-making within their firm,” said Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland’s director of strategy and policy.

Optimism has grown in recent days that the UK and the European Union will be able to strike a deal and avoid a “hard Brexit” in which the UK plunges out of the bloc without a deal, potentially paralysing trade between the State and the North, and leading to the re-imposition of Border controls.

Rising overheads, energy and labour costs are, however, cutting into margins, and large firms and those in construction and professional services are finding it harder to recruit.

A survey last month by the Nevin Economic Research Institute, a trade union-backed think-tank, warned the North was falling further behind in what it termed “a three-speed Ireland” led by the fast-growing urban areas like Dublin and Cork. Counties along the Border fared particularly badly, it noted.

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