100 days to Brexit – Tánaiste urges businesses to get ready for inevitable change

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23 September 2020 With 100 days until the end of the transition period, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD is urging businesses to be ready for the inevitable changes that Brexit will mean for their operations at the end of this year.

From 1 January 2021, the UK will no longer be in the Single Market or Customs Union which means how we trade with them will be starkly different.  Even if a Free Trade Agreement is concluded between the EU and UK, there will be significant and enduring change.

One of the areas where businesses will experience enormous change is customs.  Calling on businesses to take action now, the Tánaiste said, “from the start of next year, customs declarations will need to be completed if businesses intend to continue trading with the UK, whether that is importing or exporting goods to the UK or using the UK as a landbridge to move their goods to or from mainland Europe. 

“We are now 100 days away from the end of the transition period.  I ask all businesses regardless of their size, small, medium or large to focus on their Brexit readiness as things will simply not be the same. Being prepared for customs formalities is critical and the Government is here to help.” the Tánaiste added.

The Government has made available a grant up to €9,000 per employee taken on or redeployed to enable businesses build their capacity to manage any customs changes through one of the agencies of my Department, Enterprise Ireland.  Practical customs training is also available through Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices and Skillnet Ireland. 

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English said that businesses buying or selling into the UK should look at their supply chain and determine if there are any vulnerabilities due to Brexit.  “Get in touch with your suppliers, service providers and logistic companies, or wholesalers and distributors to seek assurances on the continuity of supply. Consider seeking alternative suppliers either in the domestic market or further afield if you have concerns about the continued supply of products or goods”, Minister English said.

Businesses need to ensure they have adequate cashflow as it could be impacted for a number of reasons including currency fluctuations, tariffs or potential delays. 

Minister of State Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment with responsibility for Trade Promotion Robert Troy T.D. said there are Government financial supports available to help create working capital headroom.  “There are a number of ways your cashflow could be impacted because of Brexit, for example, you may have to pay tariffs on products.  It is important that businesses give themselves enough breathing space.  Supports such as the Brexit Loan Scheme and the recently launched €2 billion Credit Guarantee Scheme are available”, Minister Troy said.

There will also be new regulatory requirements for businesses who have relied on the UK up to this point.  From the beginning of January, the UK will be considered a third country and, therefore, businesses cannot use UK notified bodies for, for example, product certification purposes.  They must use a notified body within the EU.  

Concluding the Tánaiste said, “Businesses need to be sure their certifications and standards are EU compliant from the 1st January next year. While this may not affect every business, it is really important for some.  I am sure we have all noticed the CE certification mark on various products which means they meet particular standards set out in EU law.  These are assessed by notified bodies and you must ensure that a notified body within the EU is used.  So, if you have depended on a UK notified body, you must change over to one in the EU”. 

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