When Enterprise Ireland’s predecessor, Córas Tráchtála, first opened an office in Düsseldorf in 1962, live cattle and sewing machines were Ireland’s major exports to Germany, with total exports at the time exceeding the Irish punt. reached £5 million (€6.34 million).

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the company’s founding, and the export landscape is unbelievable in 1962.

Indigenous Irish businesses exported around €2 billion to the German-speaking markets of Germany, Austria and Switzerland last year, of which €1.4 billion went to Germany.

This positive market result from 2021 represents a year-on-year increase of 17%, driven primarily by sales in high-tech construction, ICT, life sciences, and industrial products and services.

Much of this promising growth in the German market is due to the highly innovative products and services offered by Irish companies.

Enterprise Ireland’s German office also covers German-speaking countries, including neighboring countries of Austria and Switzerland.

German customers appreciate innovation and are willing to pay for it. This approach, combined with the size of the German market, makes it a stable, resilient and reliable place to do business.

Irish companies thriving in Germany include medical device company Aerogen, in-vehicle connectivity leader Cubic Telecom, food ordering software company Flipdish, Ireland’s Eye knitware and EI Electronics.

German-Irish companies also have great opportunities when it comes to high-tech construction, especially projects such as pharmaceutical facilities, semiconductor manufacturing plants and data centres.

In fact, Irish companies employ 34,000 people in Germany, demonstrating that Irish companies not only export to this market, but also create real partnerships and value here.

Of course, the success of Irish exporters in Germany in recent decades has also been due to the dismantling of trade barriers.

Back in 1962, ambitious Irish companies had to contend with import quotas and currency risks, but free trade and a common currency made cross-border sales easier.


Cars with Cubic Telecom technology that has been successful in the German-speaking market

The EU is also enabling more opportunities across Europe with the €750 billion NextGenerationEU plan, which aims to build a more resilient Europe.

With part of this funding, Germany has pledged €25.6 billion in grants for recovery and resilience projects, of which 42% has been allocated to climate initiatives and 52% to digital transformation projects. .

Irish companies can access this funding both directly and indirectly by bidding directly on projects, partnering with German companies, or supplying German companies running funded projects. increase.

However, Germany is not a market for opportunistic sales.

German customers prefer to do business with suppliers who are committed to their market. Ultimately this means that in some sectors staff with German language skills and cultural understanding can make regular visits to the region or, where possible, maintain a physical presence. increase.

Sales cycles can be lengthy, but the process is worth it given the long-term value opportunities offered to those selling to Germany. Remember Germany is the export champion. Exporting to Germany means exporting worldwide.

Germany is the export champion, so exporting to Germany means exporting worldwide.

Enterprise Ireland’s German office also covers German-speaking countries, including neighboring countries of Austria and Switzerland, both markets with their own unique characteristics.

Many of them found Switzerland to be an excellent export market. As such, it serves as a starting point for Germany.

Swiss clients tend to look to external suppliers initially, and Irish companies have a strong reputation for quality, reliability and value, especially in the fields of ICT, engineering and life sciences.

Austria, on the other hand, offers particular opportunities for Irish companies in certain industrial sectors and construction.

Overall, the region offers many options and routes for Irish businesses to start or expand their exports. The office may be 60 years old, but the Irish exporter’s journey is just beginning.

Manus Rooney is Country Manager Germany/Austria/Switzerland for Enterprise Ireland.

For more information on entering the German market, please visit https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/Export-Assistance/International-Office-Network-Services-and-Contacts/Germany.html.

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