The CEO of the leading representative body for Irish exporters, the Irish Exporters Association (IEA), has stated that today is a significant day for Irish traders that will now trade and operate with our nearest neighbour outside of the EU single market and customs union. Adapting to the “new normal” in terms of trade relations will have to be swift, if Irish traders are to effectively move goods from, to, or through Great Britain, warned CEO Simon McKeever – “Ireland and the UK joined the EU (the then European Communities) together in 1973 and since then have enjoyed the benefits that EU membership brings, including the benefits of cross-border relations and trade. From 11pm last night (31st December), trade will not flow seamlessly and long-lasting changes to trade flows is evident.
By leaving the EU’s customs union and single market, mandatory checks will have to take place on goods moving from, to, or through Great Britain. Irish traders, and traders operating from Ireland, were always going to be acutely impacted by the UK’s exit from the EU and we have been preparing for that over the last number of years with our members and Government.
Customs formalities and procedures is a clear example of how Brexit has altered trade flows. We expect that the real impact will be evident on Monday when trade flows are back in full swing following the Christmas and New Year period.
The recently agreed EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement has alleviated the impact of Brexit to an extent, however we have always made the point that changes are inevitable, irrespective of whether an agreement on trade is reached. We welcome that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is broad in scope and goes beyond trade in goods and services, to encompass other areas such as competition, State aid, air and road transport, energy and sustainability, data protection and fisheries. Avoiding WTO rules and ensuring zero tariffs and zero quotas on all goods that comply with the appropriate rules of origin, is very much welcomed by exporters and importers.
Looking to the future, Ireland is, and will remain, a hugely attractive place to do business and a gateway to the European Union, particularly as a geographical bridge between the US and the EU. We are committed to ensuring that traders based here continue to trade with the UK and find new markets for their top-class goods. I am confident that exporters, like they always have, will lead economic prosperity in Ireland.”