Global market uncertainty, energy and supply chain issues and skills shortages were among the top challenges cited by exporters ahead of Enterprise Ireland's International Markets Week.

600 EI client companies are expected to take part in 1,800 export focused one-to-one engagements with Enterprise Ireland Market Advisors at the event which will happen in-person this year for the first time since 2019.

A survey of client companies in advance of the event found that 84% plan to enter new export markets over the next year with over 90% saying they expected to grow their exports, despite ongoing market uncertainty and concerns around as supply chains, energy costs and inflation.

Around three in five said their export sales had increased this year while around a third said they had remained stable.

For around two thirds of companies, growing their overseas market presence was their biggest priority for the year ahead.

Of those planning to enter new markets next year, one-third said North America was the priority destination for them in 2023, with 27% prioritising Europe and one-in-five citing the UK.

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The UK remains our biggest trading partner despite complications introduced by Brexit and a conscious decision by many firms to pivot their growth strategies towards other European markets in particular.

The ambition of firms to expand into other markets comes despite the probable onset of a protracted economic slowdown in the next year, with the IMF warning in recent days that around a third of the global economy could be in recession next year.

"The business optimism is a credit to the innovation and flexibility of Irish exporters who have overcome a range of obstacles in recent times including, Brexit and Covid-19 and are now facing a range of trading challenges in response to the uncertainty surrounding the war in Ukraine," Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland said.

"It's vital that the current inflationary pressures, especially increases in energy costs, don't derail that recovery and we continue to support and grow employment opportunities across all regions," he added.