The Irish Exporters Association (IEA) has published its 2021 pre-budget submission. The Association is calling on the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and the wider Government to come forward with the necessary policies and measures to support an export led recovery, which history proves has driven Irish economic recoveries of the past.
The IEA’s submission outlines key policy recommendations under the following five headings: keeping businesses open and operating, managing the Brexit fallout, tackling the continued climate crisis, keeping Ireland competitive and the new working environment. The IEA’s submission is prepared on the premise that Irish exporting businesses can continue to operate and grow even in the face of uncertainty.
Establishing a State backed Export Credit Agency and creating an independent and wide-reaching State-owned credit lending institution are two prominent proposals included in the submission. The Association cites the need for creating an independent lending institution to address cash flow issues, lack of liquidity and lack of credit.
In terms of Brexit, supports for training and finding alternative routing to the landbridge, such as supporting the further opening of direct shipping routes to the continent, are among the asks of exporters. According to the IEA, getting goods on and off the island needs to be prioritised further by the Government to ease the movement of freight post-Brexit. The impact of reduced aviation activity on cargo capacity through the pandemic remains a strategically critical concern for Irish exporters and is a wider concern for the FDI sector.
In term of tackling climate change, the Government must ensure that Budget 2021 foresees changes coming down the line from the EU. The EU Green Deal is set to dominate upcoming EU policies. The IEA is calling on the Government to utilise Budget 2021 to make the challenges easier and inspire innovation within companies to adopt more sustainable practices.
Simon McKeever, IEA Chief Executive commented: “Budget 2021 may well be the most important budgetary proposal that the State will come forward with. Tackling COVID-19, managing the consequences of the UK’s departure from the EU, with or without agreeing an FTA with the EU-27, and addressing the ongoing climate crisis are the key issues of the day. I have long believed that the establishment of a State backed Export Credit Agency will go a long way in supporting exporting businesses to lift the economy out of recession. With Brexit now just three months away, Irish exporters will need tools at their disposal to limit the gap of uncertainty.
We are also calling on the Government to be ready to step in to support direct shipping routes to the continent to by-pass the landbridge, which looks set to be blocked up from 1st January 2021. I believe that direct shipping routes are essential to keeping supply chain open and operating.
Budget 2021 is the perfect platform to commence repositioning Ireland as a hugely attractive place for sustainable FDI and I hope to see measures to tackle the climate crisis included in Budget 2021, and furthermore to use these measures as an incentive for businesses to innovate in this area. We know that the European Union is pressing ahead with its EU Green Deal proposal, which will eventually have to be implemented in the Member States.
With so many unknowns, we ask the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and the wider Government to take our proposals into account when drafting Budget 2021.
The measures and policies will need to have degrees of flexibility given that uncertainty is the overriding issue on all fronts and the Government may have to act quickly to address unexpected hits to an already volatile business environment and economy.“