The most recent positive economic growth figures for the second quarter of the year came on the back of an improved export sector.

That trend looks like continuing, according to HSBC's bi-annual Global Connections Trade Forecast.

The forecast predicts that solid and sustainable GDP growth over the medium term will be backed by merchandise exports growing by about 6% a year between 2016 and 2030.

HSBC says that in the shorter term, total merchandise imports and exports are set to grow from next year, with exports of goods to Europe set to increase by around 2% as the euro zone economy stabilises.

The bank says there are also "promising" signs this year in trade with the US and UK, both of which are expected to post reasonable growth rates from this year on.

Today's report says that chemicals and pharmaceuticals will remain the key export sectors for Ireland, accounting for around 60% of total merchandise exports.

It also says there will be strong opportunities for Ireland in emerging countries, with China set to become the fourth largest Irish export market by 2030 as it overtakes both France and Japan.

''Ireland’s most dynamic trading partners between 2013 and 2015 in terms of growth rates are forecast to be Argentina and Mexico in Latin America and Indonesia and Vietnam in Asia," the report says.

Longer term, Vietnam, China, India and Malaysia will be the fastest growing export markets from 2016 to 2030.

"The large share of goods exports destined for Europe means that Ireland's prospects still hinge to a large extent on an economic recovery in that region however," it adds.

Commenting on today's report, Alan Duffy, managing director and Ireland Head, HSBC Corporate Banking Ireland, says that although trade prospects will continue to be dependent on exports of chemicals and pharmaceutical products to Western countries, other sectors such as industrial machinery and agribusiness, and other countries, such as China and other Asian emerging economies, will grow strongly.

The bank's global report shows that international businesses around the world are reporting increased confidence in global trade prospects. HSBC's trade confidence index rose to 112, up a point from the last six month period.

It also predicts that world trade will grow at a modest pace up to 2015 before then accelerating between 2016 and 2020.