Recent research conducted by InterTradeIreland has revealed 98% of companies have no plan in place to deal with the consequences of Brexit, with 91% of cross-border traders having no experience of dealing with tariffs.
Over half of businesses engaged in cross-border sales have said they are concerned about currency exchange rate fluctuations.
To help counteract this, a dedicated InterTradeIreland advice service aimed at helping SMEs navigate the challenges of Brexit was unveiled yesterday by Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
InterTradeIreland has developed a comprehensive database of all goods traded cross-border on the island of Ireland, covering thousands of individual product categories and information on what the possible tariffs could be on these products if certain customs duties were to be introduced.
InterTradeIreland has hosted Brexit briefing events across the island since November 2016, supporting hundreds of businesses with tailored advice.
Businesses will be able to access a raft of supports from the Brexit Advisory Service including Brexit Readiness Vouchers which they can use to fund bespoke advice up to the value of €1000, free Brexit briefing events, information on currency hedging and a five-minute mini-masterclass designed to help business become ‘Brexit savvy’.
Minister Mitchell O’Connor, who was joined by InterTradeIreland Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thomas Hunter McGowan at the launch of the initiative at the cross-border business body’s headquarters in Newry, said: "I understand the uncertainty that our SMEs, in particular those who have benefited from cross-border trade, have in relation to the potential impacts of Brexit. I am committed to supporting Irish businesses in this period of heightened uncertainty and welcome the launch of this dedicated support service by InterTradeIreland."
InterTradeIreland CEO, Thomas Hunter McGowan added, "While there are current uncertainties, it’s important businesses are aware of how much they can do now to realise their growth ambitions. Vitally, we are encouraging companies to continue pursuing an export growth strategy. Businesses that export, including those that trade across the border, are three times more likely to be growing. Our new service aims to spur and support businesses to plan, act and engage to put themselves in the best possible position to deal with the new cross-border trading relationship."