Strong 2018 for the Irish Exporters Association

Dublin, 02 January, 2019: The Irish Exporters Association (IEA), the association representing the interest of the Irish exporting industry to facilitate and grow exports to world markets, has today published a summary of its 2018 activities. Please find an infographic here.

The IEA’s 2018 Top-10 highlights were:

Nearly 2,000 export industry professionals attended our 28 market diversification and supply chain focussed events across the country.
The top-5 countries for visa applications were China, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. The top-5 destinations for further market diversification were the United States, Germany, France, Italy and Belgium.
We further increased our regional spread, with almost 30% of IEA members based in the Southwest and West of Ireland, through dedicated Southern and Western Regional Councils.
Over 1,100 industry professionals received specialised training in preparation for international trading and potential post-Brexit barriers to trade. 24 new GDP Champions received certification in 2018 and will oversee onsite GDP practices. Good Distribution Practice (GDP) ensures patient safety by compliance throughout all stages of the supply chain and safeguards the quality of medicinal products.
The IEA saw a strong spike in demand for Brexit-related training courses in 2018 as increased uncertainty forced businesses to develop preparedness and contingency measures. Combined, the IEA’s two Customs Awareness courses, covered almost half of all non-GDP training participants. The IEA’s 2017 launched “Brexit for your Supply Chain”, which provides participants the opportunity to scenario plan their supply chain for Brexit and delivers practical customs solutions, made up almost a quarter of all non-GDP trainees.
Mayo-based Portwest was crowned Exporter of the Year at the 18th Export Industry Awards after winning the Multinational Exporter of the Year category in a highly competitive process. More than 500 export industry professionals attending the gala dinner and awards ceremony with 10 companies winning category awards across a range of sectors.
The IEA Supply Chain Series ran 8 events around the country, attended by over 400 exporters and manufacturing companies. The 4 large seminars included IEA Expert Advisory Panels, keynote addresses from industry speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions. The Revenue Commissioners attended all seminars informing attendees of the opportunities and challenges for their specific region from a customs perspective and discussed customs procedures around dealing with third countries. The four manufacturing roundtables across the country were well attended and allowed participants to highlight and discuss local issues. In addition, the IEA Markets Network Initiative featuring three large Seminars, three training workshops, six webinars e-zines were greatly received.
In general, IEA members have put in place some Brexit impact mitigation measures, with half of surveyed members putting in place at least one Brexit mitigation measure. However, at the same time only slightly more than half of all respondents indicated that they already have a formal or non-formal impact mitigation plan in place. Of those members with a mitigation plan in place, the deadline for implementation is between January and March 2019. Plans are predominantly designed around a no-deal scenario for a 6-month period. This is in spite of all respondents having actively engaged in scenario planning for at least one potential post-Brexit impact on their business, with most respondents having engaged in scenario planning for the potential reintroduction of tariffs, the potential reintroduction of customs checks, the routing of in- or outbound goods or the reintroduction of border controls.
In March, the IEA hosted a high-level Roundtable on the impact of Brexit on Irish businesses including Lord Michael Heseltine, Lord Andrew Adonis and Sir Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister and former Leader of the Liberal Democrats. 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.
We represented the interests of the export industry under our core policy pillars: Brexit, the Diversification of Export Markets, Cost Competitiveness, the War for Talent and Entrepreneurship. Under these pillars, the IEA is a key and active stakeholder within the Government’s work on Brexit, customs, promoting and facilitating International Trade, transport and logistics, future skills and digitalisation. To support our activities, we have provided written and in-person submissions on the proposed EU-Australia and EU-New Zealand Free Trade Agreements, the review of capacity needs at Ireland’s state airports, the potential economic opportunities and other impacts on Ireland from Free Trade Agreements, national strategy for future jobs, pre-budget submission 2019 and a national digital strategy.
Commenting on the IEA’s strong 2018, Simon McKeever, Chief Executive of the Irish Exporters Association, said: “2018 proved to be a mixed year for Irish exporters amidst the growing political uncertainty about Ireland’s future trading relationship with the UK following Brexit. With the increasing political turbulence in the UK raising the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit on 29 March 2019. The clock is ticking and the coming three months will be crucial to the continued prosperity of Ireland’s economy! All parties now have to take responsibility to prevent a far-reaching and harmful crash-out Brexit while speedily implementing no-deal contingency measures to prepare for any eventualities.

Irish businesses are increasingly preparing for all eventualities and our suite of IEA training courses on Customs Awareness; Brexit for your Supply Chain; Incoterms®2010; and Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) and we are delighted to launch a dedicated Certificate in International Trade in the coming months. We are convinced that this Certificate in International Trade will provide both businesses and employees with the essential skills and know-how to succeed when trading across the world.

We were more than delighted with the outstanding success of our Supply Chain Series, Markets Diversification Series and the 18th Export Industry Awards, at which Portwest won the Exporter of the Year award. The IEA’s 40 separate events in 2018 attracted nearly 2,000 industry professionals and we look forward to working with them to support their continued success in the New Year.

In 2019, we will continue to develop new and innovative solutions to assist our members on issues regarding their international trade and we will continue to be the voice of the Irish export industry in towards government both nationally and at the European level on issues at the heart of international trade.”