[Sinn Fein]

30th June 2003

Sales and Export figures highlight growing importance of All Ireland Trade

Sinn Fein Economy Spokesperson, former chairperson of the Assembly Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee, West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has said that the manufacturing sales and export figures published today highlight the growing importance of All Ireland trade.

Mr Doherty said:

``A growth of almost 11% in the value of trade with the south is particularly significant given the decrease in internal sales and the drop in sales with other markets. These figures highlight the growing importance of All Ireland trade.

``The south is our most important export market with sales at over 1 billion. There is also a huge potential for further growth, particularly as we strengthen and deepen the economic linkages. This is particularly so in the high end IT sector with its potential to generate highly skilled and well paid jobs.

``It is also interesting to see that in effect the southern economy is saving jobs within the manufacturing sector. As we see jobs in this sector in the north under threat it is vital that manufacturers are supported and enabled to take full advantage of the demand within the southern economy.''

``Early this last month the southern employers organisation IBEC has said that the removal of economic and social barriers between the north and south could create 3,000 jobs.

``We need to urgently address the removal of all social, economic and geographical barriers which act as an impediment to the development of all-Ireland trade. We also need to see the synchronisation of professional qualification and harmonisation of tax, wages, transport and housing costs on both sides of the border.''

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