Alarming number of Irish exporters not Brexit-ready

With just 35 days to Brexit new survey results released by Enterprise Ireland raise concerns over customs readiness ahead of Brexit.

A survey by IHS Markit of 600 companies on the PMI panel in Ireland, along with analysis of companies which have completed Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit Readiness Checker, reveals a worrying lack of customs preparedness of Irish companies.

The survey of 600 companies demonstrated that, while more than half (52pc) of companies view customs and logistics as a priority, only 42pc feel they are significantly or fully ready.

“Time is fast running out for business to get ready”

Of the 600 companies surveyed 22pc were still figuring out what they need to do in relation to top priority issues.

Lack of preparation

Enterprise Ireland’s analysis has found that 50pc of surveyed firms have yet to decide who will manage all documentation and procedures when their goods arrive in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland).

Not only that but more than 30pc yet to decide if customs procedures will be managed in-house or through a broker/intermediary.

A substantial 44pc have not decided how they will pay customs charges and more than 50pc have yet to determine the potential tariff of their goods.

“This year has been devastating for many business owners,” said Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, TD. “It would be understandable if Brexit was the last thing on their minds. However, Britain leaving the customs union and single market at the end of this year will bring major changes.

“There is a real risk of delays and loss of income, which would be really damaging for any business,” Varadkar said, urging firms to use Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit Readiness Checker, which will show you exactly what you need to do for your own business.

“I know there has been a huge amount to contend with this year already, but I really urge businesses to prioritise getting ready now and use the help that is there. There are 35 days left until the end of the year and time is of the essence.

“The Enterprise Ireland online Brexit Readiness Checker outlines the areas where preparation is vital and provides information and resources on how to take action,” said Giles O’Neill, manager of Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit Unit.

The key questions companies need to address now to be ready for customs include:

  • Have you secured your EORI number?
  • Have you determined the commodity code for your products?
  • Have you identified who will manage customs procedures and paperwork – will it be in-house or through a broker/intermediary?
  • Have you determined who will have responsibility for all documentation and processing your goods moving to, from or through Britain?
  • Have you the trained personnel in place to manage your customs processes and have you applied for the Ready for Customs grant to support these staff?

 “The results of this analysis are concerning. Irrespective of the result of EU/UK negotiations, customs procedures will be a reality for Irish exporters from 1 January.  This means that any Irish company moving goods to, from or through the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) will have to complete customs procedures.

“Even if they use a customs intermediary there are important aspects of the customs process they will be responsible for and need to have trained staff in place. Time is fast running out for business to get ready.”

As the 1 January deadline fast approaches Enterprise Ireland, in conjunction with the Local Enterprise Network, is holding a series of five regional webinars for all business commencing 7 December. Registration details here.

  • Monday, 7 December – Dublin Region
  • Tuesday, 8 December – Mid West Region
  • Wednesday, 9 December – North East / North West
  • Thursday, 10 December – South / South East Region
  • Friday, 11 December – Midlands, Mid East & West Region

By John Kennedy (

Published: 27 November, 2020