Trade between Ireland and the UK is likely to be worth in excess of €48.5bn, a bumper year for business between the islands.

Issues like the UK's position in Europe, the corporate tax rate and currency differentials could potentially have an impact in trade relations.

Steve Aiken, CEO of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, said the relationship that these islands have with Europe as a whole was important and that the best position for Britain was remaining within the EU and linking with the EU single market.

Mr Aiken did not agree that Britain was joining in on the attack on Ireland's corporate tax rate.

"This is Britain trying to be as competitive as Ireland. It looks across and sees the success we've had here. One of the things that Britain is trying to do is make itself more competitive," he said. "Everything that works towards improving business on these islands is a good thing."

Steve Aiken said the currency differential can have an impact on trade, but he said the relationship is long term and the currency fluctuation is something they take into account.

"For some things like energy and food costs, that is something we have to monitor closely and see how it impacts on competitiveness," he added.

Morning Briefs

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+++ Good news this morning for 86 workers at two Supervalu stores in Thomastown, Kilkenny and Clonmel, Tipperary. The stores went into receivership in 2011 - Retail group Musgraves worked with receivers Farrel Grant Sparks to keep the stores open and have now completed a deal to purchase them outright. All the employees will now transfer to Musgraves.

+++ Tullow Oil has announced to the Stock Exchange that it has agreed to acquire Norwegian exploration company, Spring Energy Norway for in a deal worth over $372 million. The exploration compnay also says it intends to dispose of its exploration, development and production assets in the UK and Dutch Southern North Sea ("SNS") gas basin.

+++ Some weeks ago we looked at the car market in Europe and the extreme difficulties facing some marques. One brand that's bucking the general trend is Audi - worldwide deliveries were up nearly 11% in November compared to the same month last year. Here, Audi recorded sales growth of 7 and a half percent year on year. It now represents 4.6% of the market and almost a third of the premium car market here.

+++ Glanbia has announced that senior manager Brian Phelan is to join the board of the food group next month. Currently group human resources and operations development director, Mr Phelan will take up the role of executive director with responsibility for Group Development in January.

+++ Asian markets were mixed overnight following a positive lead from Wall Street. Traders are growing increasingly optimistic of a deal to avert the fiscal cliff which would see huge tax rises and spending cuts kick in the United States. President Obama yesterday indicated that he was open to compromise - but he wouldn't be swayed on his demands for extra taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans. The US Federal Reserve policy committee begins its 2 day meeting today - policy makers are expected to introduce a new round of outright bond purchases aimed at lowering interest rates to encourage businesses to invest and hire.

+++ On the currency markets, the euro is back up at one US dollar 29.5 and 80.5 pence sterling.