Cross-Border traders completely unprepared for Brexit, report finds

Research by InterTradeIreland suggests businesses are ignoring possible consequences

InterTradeIreland found that just 6 per cent of cross-Border traders were prepared for cash-flow and liquidity issues in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

InterTradeIreland found that just 6 per cent of cross-Border traders were prepared for cash-flow and liquidity issues in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

 

The majority of cross-Border businesses are completely unprepared for a hard Brexit, a report has found.

The research by the cross-Border body InterTradeIreland found that just 6 per cent of traders were prepared for cash-flow and liquidity issues in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Similarly only 6 per cent have examined the possible legal implications on business contracts if the UK leaves the EU on October 31st without a deal.

The consequences if market access changes, mean businesses could be exposed to significant additional costs, unless they take steps to protect themselves now, InterTradeIreland warned.

While Brexit is looming large in the background for businesses, most firms are opting to pay no attention to its potential impact, it said.

British prime minister Boris Johnson says he is committed to taking Britain out of the EU by the deadline of October 31st, whether or not he can get a new deal with Brussels.

The prospect of avoiding a no-deal Brexit is “touch and go”, UK prime minister Boris Johnson warned at the weekend, suggesting failure to reach an accord would be the fault of the European Union.

He said he believed the chances of a deal were “improving” following a round of diplomacy which has also seen meetings with Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron.

InterTradeIreland said there are around 20,000 cross-Border traders on the island of Ireland.

“A substantial proportion of these are micro-businesses, particularly vulnerable to changes in current trading arrangements, and are more likely to be reliant on the cross-Border market as their only export destination,” InterTradeIreland’s Aidan Gough said.

The group’s report also highlights the continuity of supply as an additional problem that could hinder businesses and their ability to trade, noting that less than one in ten have taken steps to interrogate their supply chain.

The prospects of tariffs or additional taxes were other issues that could strike at the very viability of SMEs in the event of a hard Brexit, it said.

“Ignoring Brexit is a bigger issue than not preparing for it,” Mr Gough said. “Failing to take into account how it may impact your business could be very detrimental down the line,” he said.

Mr Gough said that InterTradeIreland has launched a new campaign to encourage cross-border traders to plan for Brexit, adding that the research underlines the need for companies to start acting now.

“We want to reach as many SMEs as possible to help them prepare,” he said.“This will be a significant departure for InterTradeIreland. It recognises that Brexit is the ‘elephant in the room’ and with the deadline of October 31st fast approaching, Brexit is now just too big to brush under the carpet,” he said.