Irish Exporters Association Key Priorities and Recommendations for Budget 2018

The Irish Exporters Association (IEA), the representative body of the export industry in Ireland, sets out the key priorities and recommendations for Budget 2018 in a submission to Government in early September. The IEA are advising that the Government prepare a prudent Budget that will encourage the growth of Irish exports to world markets. If Ireland is to maintain growth, we need the Government to design a budget that shows a genuine commitment to:

  1. Maintaining and improving our National Cost Competitiveness;
  2. Putting measures in place that will combat the War for Talent;
  3. Broadening our Export Base and Diversification of Export Markets, and
  4. Encouraging and fostering Entrepreneurship.

To view a full copy of the submission please click here.

To view a copy of the September Export Eye survey report quoted in the submission please click here.

The IEA Pre-Budget 2018 Submission sets out recommendations in the following areas:

Cost Competitiveness

State aid to provide subvention/compensation for companies overly exposed to sterling fluctuations if the exchange rate goes above a certain level, this will be different for different sectors. Possibilities for funding include: a levy made by banks on their hedging business for all SMEs; funding from the EU; or a credit against corporate tax payable which relates to the amount of employee taxes payable by an SME (similar to an R & D credit for those engaged in R & D activities)
In the event of the UK becoming a third country in terms of international trade as a result of Brexit, the IEA recommend implementing a Postponed Accounting of Import VAT for SMEs overly exposed to the UK market and sterling fluctuation for 2 years

Significant and strategic investment in the National Planning Framework to grow investment, jobs and population regionally
Development of the Atlantic Corridor to increase connectivity along the west coast of Ireland
Increasing services from Irish airports which will increase and reflect the cargo and services possibilities for Irish trade
More and faster direct services to continental Europe while addressing the regional imbalance in Irish ports by upgrading ports and the road networks and connectivity around them. Major opportunities exist in Cork, Rosslare and Waterford bypassing the UK and sailing direct to Continental Europe
Priority should be given to the Metro North link between Dublin City Centre and Dublin Airport and ensure that planning and road developments around Dublin Airport are put in place to deal with projected passenger growth
Address shortage in air capacity to all markets from Irish airports and the acute shortage of warehousing facilities in Ireland
Immediate solutions need to be sought to the broadband and mobile phone coverage deficits to businesses and homes across the country if Ireland is to remain competitive in a technological age, improvements in broadband and a mobile phone infrastructure need to be immediate
War for Talent
Restructuring the National Training Fund to increase training opportunities for those in employment from 23% of the fund to 50% and rebalancing the fund to upskill those currently in the workforce using initiatives such as Skillnets
A communications strategy that promotes apprenticeships in Ireland including a national promotional campaign through second level schools from the junior cycle upwards
Diversification of Export Markets
That Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and our Embassies receive a 10% funding to increase resources in high-growth markets and rapidly developing markets specifically. This will ensure that resources in our biggest developed export markets are not affected. The role of our embassies should be reaffirmed and resourced to ensure they are mandated specially to deal with Irish exporters
The IEA should be given a specific role for a campaign in partnership with Government and funded by them to drive our exports
The Export Trade Council should have a more formal role to oversee the co-ordination of our state resources that support international trade
Increasing the cap of the Earned Income Tax credit from €950 up to €1650 to be brought in line with PAYE tax credit
An increase in in the ceiling of capital gains tax rate for entrepreneurs selling their business from €1m to €10m to compete with the UK