Brexit: Survey reveals ‘worrying lack of customs preparedness’ of companies

New survey results have revealed a “worrying lack of customs preparedness” of Irish companies ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period.

A survey by IHS Markit of 600 companies on the PMI panel in Ireland, along with analysis of companies that have completed Enterprise Ireland’s Readiness Checker, demonstrates that while more than half (52%) of companies view customs and logistics as a priority, only 42% feel they are significantly or fully ready.

Of the 600 companies surveyed, 22% were still figuring out what they need to do in relation to top priority issues.

With just 35 days to go until the end of the Brexit transition period, the results are said to be “worrying”.

The analysis revealed:
  • 50% have yet to decide who will manage all documentation and procedures when their goods arrive in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland);
  • More than 30% yet to decide if customs procedures will be managed in-house or through a broker/intermediary;
  • 44% have not decided how they will pay customs charges;
  • More than 50% have yet to determine the potential tariff of their goods.

Responding to the analysis, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said:

“This year has been devastating for many business owners. It would be understandable if Brexit was the last thing on their minds.

“However, Britain leaving the customs union and single market at the end of this year will bring major changes.

“There is a real risk of delays and loss of income, which would be really damaging for any business. We are appealing to businesses to get ready now. There is a lot of help available.

I know there has been a huge amount to contend with this year already, but I really urge businesses to prioritise getting ready now and use the help that is there. There are 35 days left until the end of the year and time is of the essence.

Minister of State with responsibility for trade promotion, digital and company regulation Robert Troy urged businesses to revisit their Brexit plans.

“I know that this comes at a time of ongoing and extreme pressure on businesses as they work through the current pandemic and may not be trading as they normally would have,” the TD said.

“I am very concerned by recent reports from Revenue that there are significant numbers of businesses who trade with the UK but have not yet registered for an EORI [Economic Operators’ Registration and Identification] number, the first basic step needed to trade with the UK.

“Businesses need to devote time to take this first step and to decide how to manage their customs overheads from January 1. If they don’t, they will simply be unable to transact business with the UK.”