MINT Countries

First it was the BRICs,then the CIVETS but now there’s a new acronym on the block. Meet the MINTs.

Jim O’Neill, the economist who coined the term BRICs, is now championing the MINTs as the second generation of emerging market pacesetters. Sharing common features including growing populations, a youthful workforce and strategic locations near larger markets, O’Neill has selected Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey as the new emerging markets to which western investors need to pay attention.

A key point O’Neill makes about these countries is their location: Indonesia is at the heart of southeast Asia, Turkey has a combination of eastern and western influences, Nigeria is leading ‘Africa’s rising’ and Mexico has close proximity to the USA.


Due to its newly found reputation for being a rapidly developing, dynamic economy, Mexico is regularly ranked in the top three emerging markets to do business with.

Acting as a natural bridge between Latin America and the United States, it covers an area roughly the same size as Western Europe, and with a population of 116 million, is the second largest economy in Latin America.

And it’s the Latin American market that investors like most. With its market-friendly reforms, with more Free Trade Agreements (including one with the EU) than anyone else in the world, economists expect Mexico to attract steady increases in foreign investment.

Mexico imports a wide range of goods and services from Ireland, from technology support to products related to the dairy industry, and Mexico sees Ireland as a ‘natural gateway to Europe’.

Import commodities: Metalworking, machines, steel mill products, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, car parts, aircraft and aircraft parts.

Export commodities: Manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee and cotton.

Click here for more information on trading with Mexico.


As the world’s fourth most populous country, sixteenth most prosperous and the largest economy in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is a big country full of big opportunities.

Indonesia has enjoyed steady economic growth for a number of years, and Goldman Sachs predicts it will become the eighth largest economy in the world by 2050.

Indonesia is an important regional partner for the EU; the two are connected through a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Ireland is actively looking to build a direct relationship with Indonesia: in 2013, Ireland’s Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform visited the country on an official mission and Enterprise Ireland in Singapore is organising further trade missions to Indonesia.

Import commodities: Machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels and foodstuffs.

Export commodities: Oil and gas, electrical appliances, plywood, textiles and rubber.

Click here for more information on trading with Indonesia.


Forbes states that Nigeria has some of the best prospects in all emerging markets. A reassessment of Nigeria’s GDP revealed the country’s economy to be the biggest economy in Africa, bigger even than South Africa.

With English widely spoken and accepted as the business language, investment incentives including Free Trade Zones and tax holidays, there are many strengths of the Nigerian market. Supported by these strengths, Irish companies with a view to export have a unique opportunity to get ahead of the curve and tap into this market at an early stage.

As part of Ireland’s Africa Strategy, several initiatives are underway to increase bilateral trade and investment between Ireland and Nigeria. In 2013, for example, Irish companies on an Enterprise Ireland trade mission to Nigeria and South Africa secured new contracts totalling over €7 million and established the foundation for further cooperation.

Import commodities: machinery, chemicals, transport equipment, manufactured goods, food and live animals.

Export commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, cocoa, rubber.

Click here for more information on trading with Nigeria.


Turkey is a rapidly developing country and is predicted to be the second-fastest growing economy in the world by 2018.

Bilateral trade between Ireland and Turkey is projected to grow from €1.3 billion (2012 figures) to €3.5 billion by 2023 according to the Irish Exporters Association, which has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Turkish Exporters Assembly. Specifically for Irish goods and services exported to Turkey, these are expected to rise from €803 million in 2012 to €2 .0 Billion by 2023.

Along with a young and talented population, a big draw for businesses looking to expand into new markets is Turkey’s drive towards full European Union membership with political, economic and legal reform processes in full swing. And with its location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey is a great springboard to many other markets, including the eight countries it borders.

Import commodities: machinery, chemicals, semi-finished goods, fuels, transport equipment.

Export commodities: apparel, foodstuffs, textiles, metal manufactures, transport equipment.

Click here for more information on trading with Turkey