The European Commission last week published a Communication advising Member States/businesses to step up preparations in advance of the UK’s departure form the EU in March 2019. The notice provides advice on how to manage a transition (if agreed as part of a Withdrawal Agreement) and indeed what steps to take to prepare for the possibility that a Withdrawal Agreement would not be in place.
Chambers Ireland Supporting Chambers Ahead of Brexit
You will have noted the recent developments concerning the publication by the UK Government of its latest White Paper on its position on Brexit. We are monitoring events in Westminster, as well as the negotiations as they take place in Brussels. Given recent events, we think it important to take this opportunity to update you all on what Chambers Ireland has been doing in the past couple of months to advocate for the interest of Irish business. We’re now eight months out from the UK’s formal exit from the EU, with just over three months to make enough progress on agreeing on the terms of a Withdrawal Agreement, so that a transition can be put in place. In the absence of certainty as to the future arrangements, we think it is pertinent to emphasise the importance of “preparing for the worst, while hoping or the best”. As part of our work Chambers have been advocating for the interests of Irish business and meeting with;
- Minister Humphreys as part of the DBEI Forum on Brexit and Global Challenges
- An Tánaiste Simon Coveney at the DFAT Brexit Stakeholders Forum
- Northern European Coastal Chamber Alliance (NECCA), where we were briefed by members of the Taskforce 50 team (June 2018)
- Eurochambres Brexit Working Group, where were also briefed by the Taskforce 50 team and the Brexit Preparedness Unit (July 2018)
Chambers Ireland also hosted a workshop for all Certs of Origin Issuing Chambers where attendees were briefed on how best to advise members and clients on how to prepare for Brexit over the coming months.
The five main messages we have for business on that front are;
- Review your supply chain and map out imports and exports to and from the UK
- Assess the impact of tariffs on a worst case and best case scenario
- Identify the level of customs awareness within the Company
- Assess the potential increase in the costs of customs compliance
- Look at applying for Trusted Trader Status
What Happens Next? Preparing for Brexit
Looking ahead, the next few months will be crucial if negotiating teams are to reach agreement on the Withdrawal to enable a transition to be in place following March 2019. Ngeotiatiosn are taking place in Brussels this week and will continue to do so right up to the next EU Council meeting in October where the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement will have to be in place so that it can be ratified ahead of the March 2019 deadline.
The publication of the UK White Paper last week is welcome progress, but given the short amount of time remaining between now and the October deadline, we thing it is important that you reiterate to your members the need to “Hope for the Best but Prepare for the Worst”. Government and State Agencies have made available a wide range of resources to help businesses prepare for Brexit. We encourage your Chamber to promote the resources to your members, including the Brexit Loan Scheme.
In the meantime, the EU continues to finalise new trade deals, namely those with Mexico and Japan, both of which have opportunities for Irish business. Innovating and internationalising must be part of how Irish businesses prepares for Brexit. County Carlow Chamber, as part of our Trade Connections Series, will welcome the Ambassador of Mexico to Carlow in October to discuss current and future trade opportunities. The following links have more information.
We Want to Hear From You
Please engage with the team in your local Chamber give us any feedback regarding available supports, including suggestions for additional supports. We would also like feedback on what specific investments or infrastructure supports are needed in the region to get ready for Brexit, specially relating to ports/road/airports etc.