Brexit rush for ‘trusted trader’ status, return of customs brokers, and planning delays

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from ‘The Irish Times’ business desk

City of Derry airport: The loss of the Derry to London Stansted route after flybmi ceased operations has raised concerns over the viability of the airport

City of Derry airport: The loss of the Derry to London Stansted route after flybmi ceased operations has raised concerns over the viability of the airport

 

The number of businesses seeking a type of ‘trusted trader’ status for faster border and customs checks in post-Brexit trade with the UK has surged, figures from the Revenue Commissioners show. The tax authority said that it had received 80 applications from companies seeking approval as trusted traders or Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status over the last three months, reports Simon Carswell.

On a recent visit to the offices of the country’s largest independent customs broker, Simon met general manager Gerard O’Hare, who says “the state of unreadiness among people out there is just unbelievable.” O’Hare has been in the business long enough to remember trucks waiting a day at the Irish Border for customs clearance. “I can see huge problems if it comes to a cliff-edge Brexit,” said O’Hare. “The proposed system in both the UK and Ireland will not work and will not be able to function with the volume of transactions that happen.”

It comes as Business Minister Heather Humphreys has called on Irish businesses to contact suppliers and service providers to get assurances about the continuity of the supply of their goods and services after the UK leaves the EU in March.

One of the latest financial companies to beef up its Irish presence due to Brexit is UK-based ship insurer Standard Club. It’s CEO estimates about 40 per cent of its business will be written through its new Dublin unit in the wake of Brexit. The insurer currently generates about $290 million (€257.3 million) of premiums annually.

The loss of the Derry to London Stansted route after flybmi ceased all operations will “be very damaging to businesses in the region,” industry leaders have warned as concerns grow over the viability of the airport. The collapse of flybmi, which partly blamed its demise on Brexit uncertainty, leaves the City of Derry Airport without one of its core routes.

A backlog of planning appeals at An Bord Pleanála means the board is deciding only 40 per cent of cases on time and the latest plan to fall foul of it is an extension to a high-profile shopping centre in Limerick, which was planned to support 300 jobs locally.

In his column this week Chris Johns asks if you are better investing in stocks than property. While people always say they don’t like equities because they are, it is often asserted, too volatile or too difficult to understand “property is, in fact, a touch more volatile than most of us seem to realise while stocks produce the best returns of any asset class over the long run,” he writes.

Finally, Pilita Clark argues that a bit of rudeness in the office is no bad thing. “Our tendency to confuse blunt words with unacceptable behaviour has had a sad consequence beyond the office. It robs public life of some of its most delightful moments.” She references some choice retorts from a couple of Australian politicians to illustrate her point.