One in 10 Irish exporters say Brexit has cost them €100,000

Almost 5% put the cost at more than €250,000 to date

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

Brexit has already had a significant impact on Irish exporters, with one in 10 saying it has cost them more than €100,000.

Some 53 per cent of Enterprise Ireland client companies said Brexit was affecting their business, with almost 5 per cent putting the cost at more than €250,000 to date.

There are fears about what is to come, with a third of companies concerned about currency fluctuations, 22 per cent citing tariffs as their main concern and 16 per cent saying supply chain disruption was on their list of worries. Fifteen per cent said uncertainty for the Brexit outcome was their main concern.

But more than 80 per cent said they planned to extend their business into new international markets over the next 12 months, with the euro zone considered the prime target.

The report was published ahead of the opening of Enterprise Ireland’s International Markets Week at the RDS in Dublin, which will bring Enterprise Ireland’s international market advisers from 34 overseas offices together with client companies. for one-to-one meetings, advising Irish businesses on global export opportunities in new markets in direct response to Brexit.

“Our research shows that Irish exporters are already feeling the negative impacts of Brexit through their profit margins. We have consistently said that the wait-and-see approach is not an option and client companies are heeding this advice,” said Julie Sinnamon, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland.

“In 2018, 945 new overseas customers were secured by clients with the support of Enterprise Ireland. This represented a 23 per cent increase on the 770 new overseas customers recorded in 2017. Overall, Enterprise Ireland client companies have opened 275 new overseas presences in the first six months of 2019.”

Support programmes

Enterprise Ireland has already put in place support programmes for Irish exporting companies focusing on enhancing innovation, competitiveness and market diversification action plans. The organisation has also approved more than €9 million in funding since 2018 to companies looking to enter new markets under its Market Discovery Fund.

With the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit increasing, Minister for Business Heather Humphreys said work on Brexit preparations has “the highest priority” across Government.

“Broadening our global footprint is crucial in this context, so we are committed to supporting businesses to win new contracts in existing markets and achieve first-time sales in new markets, thereby safeguarding and growing good-quality jobs,” she said. “The euro zone offers a potential customer base of over 340 million people, and has the advantage of having no currency volatility, no trade barriers and full regulatory alignment.”

Meanwhile, the North’s regional business development agency, Invest NI, has confirmed it has “approved” £1.5 million (€1.6 million) worth of Brexit preparation grants to nearly 50 companies in Northern Ireland.

According to an Invest NI spokeswoman, in addition to the nearly 50 companies who have been approved for Brexit preparation grants, 1,500 firms in the North have, to date, also attended the agency’s special Brexit workshops while a further 1,300 organisations have completed Invest NI’s Get Ready for Brexit assessment tool. The Invest NI spokeswoman said nearly 500 companies in Northern Ireland have also received one-to-one specialist advice on Brexit.