Dáil Éireann - Volume 400 - 27 June, 1990
Written Answers. - Ireland's Position in International Marketplace.
Mr. Cotter Mr. Cotter
41. Mr. Cotter asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce his views on  whether Ireland has a poor competitive position in the international marketplace; if the Government has any plans to improve that position; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. O'Malley) Desmond J. O'Malley
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. O'Malley): In my view, the competitive position of Irish industry in the international marketplace has not been better for many years and is continuing to improve.
This improvement is reflected in our success on world markets where our exports have risen from £10.7 billion in 1987 to £14.6 billion in 1989. This represents an increase of 36 per cent and is a magnificent performance by any standards.
Our success in breaking out of the previously damaging spiral of rising costs and lost competitiveness is due in a large measure to the Government's resolute handling of the national finances and the co-operation of the social partners in implementing the terms of the Programme for National Recovery.
The effect of these measures has been to create a new economic climate conducive to growth and export development.Inflation has been reduced to a point where, at 3.5 per cent, we are now below the EC average and well below the rate in the UK our biggest single trading partner. Interest rates are also well below those in the UK and expected to moderate further. Our unit wage costs have moderated significantly and the cost of public utilities such as electricity, telecommunications and post have either been held at 1987 levels or have been reduced.
The combined impact of progress on all these fronts has been to restore a new level of competitiveness to Irish industry and industry has responded positively as our export figures illustrate.
Of course, success in the international marketplace will not be achieved solely on the basis of cost efficiency. The modern market requires quality products, efficient delivery and overall marketing professionalism. Under the National Programme for Industrial  Development 1989-1993, which is being supported by EC Structural Funds, the Government has put in place a comprehensive range of measures to support Irish industry in achieving new levels of performance in the international marketplace.
Given the Government's firm commitment to maintaining and building on the progress achieved to date, I have every confidence that Irish industry is now positioned to achieve even greater success in the international marketplace in the future.
Dáil Éireann 400 Written Answers. Ireland's Position in International Marketplace.