Workshops on customs issues to be held for Brexit-affected businesses
Local Enterprise Offices in all regions are to start providing courses in the coming weeks
Pro and anti-Brexit demonstrators pictured protesting outside the Houses of Parliament, in Westminster, London
Local Enterprise Offices across the Republic are to start providing workshops on dealing with customs procedures as the deadline for a deal on Brexit nears.
The courses, which begin later this month, are intended to help SMEs to “Brexit-proof” their businesses by highlighting changes arising from trading with the UK as a non-EU member.
The one-day workshops will cover the export and import procedures that apply when trading with countries outside the customs union and single market. They will also look at areas such as how tariffs work and at the classification of goods being shipped.
Local Enterprise Offices in every region will be running the courses throughout the year, with the first one taking place at Errigal Country House Hotel in Cavan on February 25th.
The network, which is administrated by Enterprise Ireland and local authorities, was awarded an extra €5 million in Budget 2019 to help SMEs prepare for Brexit. A significant portion of that funding has been reserved for spending on training in customs procedures.
Enterprise Ireland has consistently warned exporters and importers that they can expect delays at ports, whatever form of Brexit the British government negotiates, be that soft, hard, or no-deal.
The State body is concerned that while many Irish businesses have taken steps to protect their businesses, many have little knowledge of dealing with customs issues.
“Enterprise Ireland and the local enterprise offices recognise that since Ireland entered the single market, the requirement for customs processes and procedures has fallen away for those clients serving the EU market,” the State body said in a recent tender notice for training course providers.
“While some clients trade with third countries and would have relevant customs experiences, the majority of the exposed clients will be interacting with customs procedures for the first time. This requires changes to their accounts and records, and a depth of knowledge and experience that they currently lack,” it added.
Once Britain leaves the EU it will be officially classed as ‘a third country’ with any goods imported or exported to or from the UK requiring a customs declaration and payment of duties. Goods shipped from the Republic to the European continent, via the UK ‘land bridge’, will be classified as transit goods, and would also require a customs declaration.
The UK is often the first export market for Irish businesses . In addition, an estimated two-thirds of exporters make use of the land bridge to access European markets.
There are currently 31 local enterprise offices nationwide with the network providing provide training, mentoring and financial assistance to small businesses.
New figures show 36,666 people were employed by 7,164 local enterprise office-supported companies with the organisation providing €18.2million worth of supports such as feasibility and expansion grants in 2018.