Supply chain issues are a global phenomenon, and Irish importers are prioritising what they import to minimise the effects of disruptions.

Ireland exported €162 billion worth of goods in 2020 and figures so far this year suggest exports will be as high in 2021.

However, there has been a noticeable increase in imports to Ireland, driven by consumer demand and a growing economy.

Ireland isn't immune to global supply chain problems, and importers are being selective of inventory where possible, according to Simon McKeever, CEO of the Irish Exporters Asssociation.

"They are doing their best is the best way to put it," he said.

"China and the United States opened up quicker than European Union, Britain and Ireland. Shipping rates are nearly 5 times what they were at this time last year. We're seeing air freight rates going through the roof as well, and that would all have a knock on effect on both producers and consumers in Ireland."

Mr McKeever said Ireland is seeing a fall in imports from the UK, largely driven by what's happening with Brexit.

"Companies are sourcing items from other parts of Europe. We're seeing Malaysia coming into the top ten for the first time, with a very strong import figure."

Trade in pharmaceuticals spiked during the pandemic and they accounted for €62 billion or 38% of exports last year.

Mr McKeever expects a fall in pharma exports this year.

Belgium was Ireland's second biggest export destination in 2020. It is an coordination centre for a lot of pharmaceutical producers in the European Union.

"We will see a slight drop in our pharmaceutical exports this year, and we're seeing our exports to Belgium have dropped.

"If you look at the trends, the US will remain our biggest export market. Belgium will drop to number 4. Our exports are doing very well in Germany, it's a key country particularly on food, and the UK will move from number 4 to number 3.

"We're actually going to export more to the UK than we did last year. We're still seeing strong demand out of the UK."