Contingency planning for Brexit to accelerate, Ibec says

Customs barriers still most concerning issue for Irish businesses, according to survey

Customs barriers are the most concerning Brexit-related issue for Irish businesses. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Customs barriers are the most concerning Brexit-related issue for Irish businesses. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Contingency planning by businesses in Ireland for Brexit will accelerate over the coming months as negotiations intensify, a report from lobby group Ibec suggests.

Ibec’s 2018 Brexit survey shows that more than one in five companies have contingency plans in place, while about 53 per cent expect to have plans in place over the coming months.

Customs barriers. regulatory divergence and exchange rate volatility are the issues most concerning Irish businesses. Some 60 per cent of respondents highlighted concern at the potential impact of increased customer and certification procedures on trade between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

However, 20 per cent of respondents said Brexit had a positive impact on their ability to win new inbound investment projects.

“Business is actively working to support an outcome that delivers close EU-UK alignment into the future, but major obstacles exist. The type of EU-UK free trade agreement that currently seems likely would amount to a significant deterioration of the current economic relationship and would come with a heavy economic cost,” Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy said.

“It is crucial that a deal guaranteeing no hard border with Northern Ireland is significantly advanced over the coming weeks. Political commitments must now be given full legal force,” he said, adding that the best way to avoid a hard border in Ireland was for the UK to remain in a customs union.

Ibec’s Brexit survey was conducted among 249 companies.