Ireland imported US$98.1 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2019, up by 26.1% since 2015 but down by -8.2% from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, Ireland’s official currency the euro appreciated by 0.9% against the US dollar since 2015 but declined by -5.5% from 2018 to 2019. The weaker EU currency makes Ireland’s imports paid for in stronger US dollars in 2019 relatively less expensive than in 2018 when converted starting from euros.
Irish imports represent 0.5% of total global imports which totaled an estimated $19.665 trillion one year prior in 2018.
From a continental perspective, almost 70% of Ireland’s total imports by value in 2019 were purchased from fellow European countries. North American trade partners supplied 14.9% of import Ireland’s import purchases while 8.8% worth originated from Asia. Much smaller percentages of Irish imports came from Latin America (0.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Africa (0.4%) then Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Ireland’s population of 5 million people, the country’s total $98.1 billion in 2019 imports translates to roughly $19,800 in yearly product demand from every person in the European island country.
Ireland’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Ireland’s import purchases during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Ireland.
- Aircraft, spacecraft: US$21.1 billion (21.5% of total imports)
- Machinery including computers: $10.9 billion (11.1%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $8.2 billion (8.4%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $6.3 billion (6.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $5.8 billion (5.9%)
- Organic chemicals: $5.7 billion (5.8%)
- Vehicles: $4.2 billion (4.3%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $3.1 billion (3.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $3.1 billion (3.1%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $1.2 billion (1.2%)
Ireland’s top 10 imports are approaching three-quarters (70.9%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Three categories expanded from 2018 to 2019 namely organic chemicals (up 21.4%), articles made from iron or steel (up 5%) and machinery including computers (up 1%).
Leading the decliners was the pharmaceuticals category thanks to its -35.9% retreat year over year.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2019, Irish importers spent the most on the following subcategories of aerospace products.
- Aircraft, spacecraft: US$20.7 billion (down -13.8% from 2018)
- Aircraft parts: $323.6 million (down -14.4%)
- Aircraft launch gear, ground fly trainer: $677,000 (down -13%)
- Balloons, dirigibles, gliders, handgliders: $156,000 (up 71.4%)
Among these import subcategories, only Irish purchases of balloons, dirigibles, gliders and handgliders (up 71.4%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported aerospace among Irish businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Irish importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery.
- Computers, optical readers: US$4 billion (up 6.3% from 2018)
- Computer parts, accessories: $1.6 billion (up 15.8%)
- Turbo-jets: $872.4 million (up 18%)
- Machinery for making semi-conductors: $333.2 million (down -59.9%)
- Machinery parts: $327.4 million (up 6.4%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $279 million (down -4.6%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $223.4 million (down -10.6%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $205.9 million (down -6.1%)
- Printing machinery: $203.5 million (up 9.4%)
- Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $199 million (down -0.04%)
Among these import subcategories, Irish purchases of turbo-jets (up 18%), computer parts and accessories (up 15.8%) then printing machinery (up 9.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Irish businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Irish importers spent the most on the following subcategories of pharmaceuticals.
- Blood fractions (including antisera): US$3.8 billion (up 18.3% from 2018)
- Medication mixes in dosage: $3.1 billion (up 3.1%)
- Medication mixes not in dosage: $1.2 billion (down -81.7%)
- Packaged dressings: $72 million (up 29.9%)
- Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods: $71.3 million (down -7%)
- Dried organs, heparin: $2.7 million (down -78.6%)
Among these import subcategories, Irish purchases of packaged dressings (up 29.9%), blood fractions including antisera (up 18.3%) then medication mixes in dosage (up 3.1%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported pharmaceuticals among Irish businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Irish importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$3.5 billion (up 0.9% from 2018)
- Crude oil: $1.3 billion (down -22.8%)
- Petroleum gases: $1.1 billion (down -18.2%)
- Electrical energy: $235.4 million (down -36.2%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $89.1 million (down -9.9%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $69.2 million (down -65.5%)
- Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $27 million (up 38.4%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $12.9 million (down -9.8%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $4.9 million (up 61.3%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $4.5 million (down -19.9%)
Among these import subcategories, Irish purchases of high temperature distilled coal tar oils (up 61.3%), natural bitumen, asphalt and shale (up 38.4%) then processed petroleum oils (up 0.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imports for mineral fuels-related products among Irish businesses and consumers.
See also Ireland’s Top Trading Partners, Ireland’s Top 10 Exports and Ireland’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on February 20, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 20, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 20, 2020