Incoming Fine Gael MEP for Midlands North-West, Colm Markey, has called on businesses to step up their preparations for Brexit regardless of the outcome of the future relationship negotiations. Mr. Markey’s comments come as talks between the EU and the UK reach their final stages.
“From 1 January, the UK will no longer apply the rules of the Customs Union and Single Market. Regardless of the outcome of talks over the coming weeks, the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol will be implemented. This is a fact that will affect businesses across the island.”
In early September, the Government released an updated version of its Brexit Readiness Action Plan. The plan outlines the steps that businesses need to take to be fully prepared for the end of the Transition Period on December 31st, 2020.
“The fundamental challenges facing businesses, large and small, across the island cannot be overstated. Any business moving goods to, from, or through Great Britain will be subject to a range of SPS checks, customs measures, and other burdensome requirements”.
Mr. Markey further commented:
“There are a number of supports available to businesses that can help with upskilling, providing financial support and other advisory services. I would encourage all businesses to visit the government’s ‘Get Ireland Brexit Ready’ website and avail of the services on offer”.
In addition to the services made available to Irish businesses, Mr. Markey highlighted that the government has established a €3.4 billion Recovery Fund to stimulate the economy in response to Brexit and COVID-19. These measures have been introduced to protect overly exposed sectors of the Irish economy such as the Food and Drink sector. According to an economic analysis carried out by IBEC and Food Drink Ireland, over 37% of Irish food and drink exports (€4.5bn) went to the UK market in 2019.
Mr. Markey remarked on the economic analysis:
“The need for Irish businesses, especially in the food and drink sector, to take every necessary precaution ahead of December 31st cannot be clearer. It is imperative that businesses consult government advisory services to mitigate the cost of future regulatory requirements when trading with the United Kingdom”.
“Whatever the outcome of the ongoing negotiations, both a deal and no deal scenario will be highly disruptive and will have serious economic and legal implications. We must be prepared for all eventualities.”