Irish Exporters Association hosts roundtable to discuss the impact of Brexit on Irish business with Lord Michael Heseltine, Lord Andrew Adonis and Sir Nick Clegg

Dublin, 22nd March 2018: The Irish Exporters Association (IEA), the representative body supporting the Irish export industry, yesterday hosted a roundtable discussion with current and former members of the UK Parliament including Lord Michael Heseltine, Lord Andrew Adonis and Sir Nick Clegg, Former Deputy Prime Minister and former Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

The meeting took place as part of a UK Cross Party delegation visit to Dublin and was chaired by Simon McKeever, Chief Executive, IEA and attended by: Nicola Byrne, CEO, Cloud90 and President, IEA; David Carthy, Partner, William Fry and Junior Vice President, IEA; and a number of representatives from Ibec. The roundtable discussion took place at the IEA head office at Merrion Square, Dublin 2 where a lively and informative discussion on the impact of the current and future political situation regarding Brexit on Irish business ensued. Topics covered included: trade between North / South and East / West; the Customs Union; the Single Market; the Northern Irish border; implications to exports and imports, such as import VAT; the consumer needs of both Ireland and the UK; the EU food law and regulatory framework; the UK landbridge; implications of potential tariffs; the Convention on Common Transit; and both countries working together in a post-Brexit environment.

 

Simon McKeever, Chief Executive of the Irish Exporters Association commented: “The Irish Exporters Association is delighted to host this important meeting with senior figures involved in the UK government as we feel that in these uncertain times the most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open and for all impacted in the future of our most important bi-lateral trading partner to have a voice. This meeting coincides with the release of the Irish Exporters Associations latest survey with our members regarding their sentiments on Brexit, the impact it has had on their business thus far and their future plans for trade.

The latest figures compare results from a survey performed in the days following the Brexit Referendum in June 2016 with the same survey run in January this year. What our analysis shows is the resilience of the Irish export industry. Exports to the UK have actually increased. In June 2016, 32% of our members surveyed exported more than a quarter to the UK, this has increased to 44%. And 41% are planning to increase their level of trade with the UK in the next 6 months, this has increased from 31% in 2016.

Our members are also increasingly looking to new markets and to diversify their exports which shows an adaptability and an emerging preparedness to rebalance the over-reliance on the UK market. 66% are planning to diversify their export markets in the next 6 months, up from 54% directly after the referendum. The results show a very positive picture but it also shows that exporters are proceeding with caution. Irish exporters need more clarity around what a post-Brexit trading environment will look like as concerns over possible customs procedures and tariff implications have increased for our members since the referendum. 97% of our members surveyed think that the UK should remain a member of the EU, but regardless the Irish export community are paving the way to succeed with or without their biggest trading partner. The job of the Irish Exporters Association is to help them on this journey and we are committed to helping companies meet the challenges associated with trading in a post-Brexit environment.”