Almost half of Irish businesses unprepared for Brexit

09 November 2020

Four in ten Irish businesses have yet to start planning for post-Brexit trade arrangements, according to research carried out on behalf of Declaron – the new customs clearance service established as a joint venture between BDO and Fexco.

The research was conducted by independent research group B&A and engaged 300 businesses trading with the UK throughout the Republic of Ireland in October 2020.  The results of the survey are particularly worrying as we approach the end of the transition period in just over seven weeks’ time.

The primary reason for businesses lack of planning for Brexit is due to the absence of a trade agreement between the EU and the UK.

The results of the survey showed that 54% of Irish businesses do not understand the new customs clearance procedures; with the lack of knowledge or planning particularly prominent amongst SMEs. The impact of Covid-19 has also negatively impacted on businesses ability to plan for Brexit.

Following the publication of the survey, Carol Lynch, Partner, BDO Customs & International Trade joined RTE’s Morning Ireland programme to highlight the concerning results and discuss the steps that businesses need to take as a matter of priority.

"You've a short timeframe at this point. You really need to prioritise. The first thing you need is to get a customs registration, which is called an EORI number. You need to request that from Revenue but you can't import or export without that”, said Carol.

BDO 15 Point Plan

According to Carol, the second most important step is to identify how you will lodge your customs declarations:

"The next most important thing is find out how you're going to lodge your customs declarations. It's quite an in-depth process. It's a tax declaration at the end of the day so it needs to be 100% accurate."

Carol also discussed the prospects of a trade agreement solving customs issues with some businesses overvaluing these expectations.

"Even if and when a trade agreement is concluded, there will still be a requirement for import and export declarations. The agreement only means that customs duties may not be payable”.

A lack of available customs clearance agents is an issue that has been clear to Irish businesses and Government since last year and is a serious problem for exporters and importers.  Carol estimated that the country is ‘short about 3,000 customs agents in the country”.

The lack of available customs agents is also hindering the ability of companies to prepare.

The timely results of the survey and Carol’s comments on Morning Ireland sparked interest from national media with The Irish Times, Irish Examiner, Business Plus Magazine and Business World reporting on the results.  You can easily access the full articles below.

About Declaron

Declaron, a collaboration between the customs and tech experts of BDO and Fexco, is designed to help you manage your customs needs. Find out more and assess if Declaron is a suitable option for your business below.