Government urges businesses to prepare for Brexit with 10 weeks to go

August 23, 2019 0

With 10 weeks to go to the Brexit deadline on October 31st, the Government is reminding businesses of the need to prepare for Brexit. In particular, the Government has highlighted 9 steps that all businesses can take now to help prepare for the UK’s departure from the EU. Government Ministers are directly appealing to a number of sectors of concern. The ongoing Government contingency planning has indicated that the following sectors have low levels of Brexit preparedness:

  • Smaller businesses who may not realize they are trading with the UK
  • Construction businesses
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Agrifood businesses, particularly those in food production
  • Retail particularly independent shops, and hardware stores who source products from or through the UK.
  • Hauliers

Businesses and consumers who are concerned about Brexit and what it may mean for them are encouraged to visit www.gov.ie/brexit where there is a range of practical information on how to get prepared.

There are 9 steps that businesses, large and small, can do now:

  1. Understand the new rules for UK importing and exporting
  2. Review your supply chain and UK market strategy
  3. Be aware of possible changes to transport and logistics
  4. Review all your certification, regulation and licencing
  5. Review your contracts and data management
  6. Ensure you are maximising Government Brexit programmes and supports
  7. Manage your cash flow, currency and make sure your banking is in order
  8. Protect and inform your staff
  9. Know more about the impact to your sector

Following the publication of the latest Brexit Contingency Action Plan Update last month, the most recent Government steps regarding no deal preparations include:

  • Revenue are issuing their second round of direct engagement to businesses identified as being potentially at risk from Brexit. Further to the 84,000 letters issued earlier this year, this round involves another direct communication via post identifying the company’s potential financial exposure to the UK market and the steps they need to take, further supported by direct calls to businesses to follow up on the letter with any queries they may have. In this phase, nearly 27,000 letters have issued and 10,000 businesses have been spoken with on the phone by a Revenue agent.
  • The Clear Customs initiative is helping Irish businesses trading with or through the UK in preparing for new customs formalities arising from Brexit. Developed by Skillnet on behalf of the Government, Clear Customs offers eligible customs agents, customs intermediaries and affected businesses a free training programme to build capacity in the customs sector, as well as a potential €6,000 grant to help build in-house capacity.
  • The Beef Exceptional Aid Measure recently opened for applications and will provide financial aid to Irish beef farmers facing difficult circumstances as a result of market volatility and uncertainty arising out of Brexit.
  • Ongoing Government events around the country, including Government outreach at the Virginia and Tullamore Shows, specifically targeted for the agrifood sector.
  • Planning for the National Ploughing Championships where Brexit preparations will be a major feature.

Speaking today the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD, said:

Work on Brexit preparations has the highest priority across Government, particularly as the likelihood of a no deal Brexit increases. A no deal Brexit would have profound implications for Ireland on all levels. These include macroeconomic, trade and sectoral challenges, both immediately and in the longer term.

The Government’s Brexit Contingency Action Plan Update, reflects the extensive work which has taken place at EU level and on a whole-of-Government basis, including the Brexit Omnibus Act, to prepare for a no deal Brexit. Now, with 10 weeks to go, we are urging businesses and consumers to prepare.

It is only by Government, businesses and citizens working together nationally and with our EU partners that we can aim to mitigate as far as possible the impacts of a no deal Brexit, and ensure that we are as prepared as we can be for the changes it will bring.

If anyone is concerned about Brexit and the impact it may have on their daily life or their business, go to www.gov.ie/brexit which has advice on how to start preparing.

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said:

It is vitally important that businesses do all they can now, to prepare for the impact of Brexit. One of the most practical steps businesses who trade with the UK can take is ensuring they have a customs registration, known as an EORI number. Having an EORI number is a necessary first step in being able to trade with the UK post Brexit.

In July, Revenue intensified its Brexit engagement programme with businesses who trade with the UK with letters issuing to all businesses who traded with the UK in 2018, on a phased basis, outlining the most critical Brexit preparation steps they need to take in addition to having a customs registration (EORI number). Over 37,000 letters have issued so far during July and August. The fact that almost 11,000 businesses have registered for an EORI number in 2019 to date is a clear indication that businesses are actively preparing for Brexit and have taken the first critical step by getting their EORI number.

If your businesses hasn’t got an EORI, make sure you don’t leave your business at a disadvantage, take that first step and apply for your EORI now. Businesses are putting the future viability of their business in jeopardy if they do not prepare for Brexit.

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said:

My Department has put in place a range of supports to help businesses of all sizes to prepare for Brexit. We are encouraging exporters and importers to check to see if their suppliers use the UK as a landbridge and to review their supply chain. Businesses should also be aware of whether they rely on products or services that are certified for compliance with EU standards by a UK body.

I am acutely aware that many businesses will be dealing with customs for the first time. We recently launched the Clear Customs initiative to help Irish businesses trading with or through the UK in preparing for new customs formalities arising from Brexit. It offers eligible customs agents, customs intermediaries and affected businesses a free training programme to build capacity in the customs sector. Additional support of €6,000 per trainee will be available to participating eligible companies to assist with the costs of recruiting and assigning new staff to undertake training and take up new customs roles.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, said:  

I am repeating my call to businesses in the Agri-Food and related sectors to make sure that they know exactly what they will need to do in a no deal scenario and make the necessary preparations now. Businesses that move animals, plants, or products of animal or plant origin (including wood and wood products) to or from the UK should engage with my Department so that we can help ensure they are familiar with the requirements for importing or exporting such commodities from/to the UK.

Agrifood businesses should ensure they are registered with Revenue and my Department, make sure you know what documents and certificates you have to submit, to whom you have to submit them and what are the time limits for submission.  Decide who is going to be responsible for the submission of documents and certificates – you or a customs agent.

There is no doubt that a no deal Brexit will be a challenge and will impact on trade. I am encouraging agrifood businesses to prepare now and to do everything that you can to make sure that you’re ready. Check your supply chain. Review your regulatory obligations. Engage with your suppliers and clients.

The Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen Mc Entee TD, said:

Ireland does not want a no deal Brexit.  The Government and the EU believe that that the best way forward is for the UK to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop provision. But we are very aware that the threat of a no deal is increasing as October 31st approaches. We are urging businesses and consumers to check of the wealth of information available on www.gov.ie/Brexit and to avail of the range of supports which are available to help Irish businesses get through what may be a very difficult period ahead.