Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, has today launched a comprehensive set of proposals to progress EU-UK negotiations and limit the negative impact of Brexit on business and the wider economy.
The report states that it is in Ireland's overwhelming economic interest for the UK to remain in the EU customs union, but if not, close cooperation and simplified custom procedures will be needed.
An agreement on trade and customs on the island of Ireland should be framed in the first phase of talks, according to the report. It also recommends that the UK and EU should agree a common transit system early in the negotiations.
The report stresses that close cooperation between customs authorities is vital with new pre-clearance procedures and mutual recognition. Ibec says any tariff and tariff rate quotas that form part of a new EU-UK FTA must fully take into account existing trade flows. Businesses will need significant support to train staff in new customs procedures and upgrade IT systems, while customs authorities will need additional resources to address Brexit pressures.
Furthermore, the report recommends that the Ireland-UK Common Travel Area should be maintained and the need to support the Northern Ireland Peace Process must inform every decision. The future development of the all island economy must be an explicit shared EU-UK objective says Ibec, matched with ongoing funding for key all island projects.
In advance of the launch of "Brexit: Challenges with solutions" in Ibec Head Office, Dublin today, Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said the surprise UK election result offered a fresh opportunity for the UK to shift its divisive hard-Brexit trajectory.
"The economic risks and political challenges of Brexit are crystallising in the UK. Living standards are being squeezed and investment is being deferred or going elsewhere in Europe. With the Brexit clock ticking, the UK must quickly reassess and redefine its Brexit approach," said Mr McCoy.
"The concerns of business in the UK, Ireland and across Europe must inform the UK approach and the EU response. The Irish economy is powering ahead and is well positioned to respond to any Brexit upheaval, but the risks are very real. Brexit is a threat to our living standards and our economic ambition. There can be no complacency," he concluded.