Cross-border trade reached an all-time high of €7.4 billion in 2019 despite uncertainty around Brexit, new figures from InterTradeIreland show today. 

InterTradeIreland's latest Business Monitor, for the fourth quarter of 2019, highlights the interconnected nature of trade between the two economies and shows that over a third of firms in Northern Ireland buy from suppliers in Ireland. 

IntertradeIreland is a cross-border trade and business development body set up after the Good Friday agreement. 

Its latest Business Monitor shows that top-line indicators for the economy remain positive, with most firms either in growth mode (44%) or stable (42%).

A further 27% are planning to invest in staff, while 31% intend to invest in marketing - a sign of how competitive the current environment is.

However, sourcing appropriate staff is a growing concern, with firms citing lack of appropriate skills in the workforce (22%) and difficulties in recruiting the right employees (27%). 

InterTradeIreland said this is an issue right across the board with large firms taking the biggest hit, with 56%reporting problems in this area.

But it is also having an increasing impact on both smaller (26%) and mid-sized firms (41%).

Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland's Designated Officer, said that as the pace of technological change accelerates, both governments in Ireland and Northern Ireland are alive to the fact that the jobs market is changing rapidly.

Mr Gough said they are responding with support to drive business towards sustainable production practices and greater use of new technologies. 

"We are focused on delivering collaborative all-island trade and business development initiatives that support businesses to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of rapid advances in technology and the transition to a low carbon future," he said. 

"InterTradeIreland has a wide range of supports that are a powerful resource for companies who want to innovate and grow," he added.