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CEOs Seek Brexit-Proof Plan For Ireland

by Jason Gorringe,, London

04 July 2017

Most Irish CEOs think that Brexit will bring more challenges than opportunities and that the Government should do more to develop a strategy for promoting Ireland as an investment destination, according to a survey by PwC.

PwC's new CEO Brexit Survey was conducted in April 2017 and canvassed the opinions of over 200 Irish CEOs participating across a range of industry sectors.

PwC Ireland Managing Partner Feargal O'Rourke said: "Given the prevailing uncertainty, businesses need to plan for the worst. The facts remain that with the complexities of what lies ahead, any trade negotiations will likely take longer than two years to complete. A hard Brexit with no exit agreement or free trade or transition arrangement by the end of March 2019 would be unchartered waters for Irish businesses."

According to the survey, Irish business confidence has fallen. Less than two-thirds of Irish CEOs are confident about their organization's prospects for revenue growth over the next three years. This is down from the 85 percent recorded prior to the UK's decision to leave the EU in June 2016.

A third of those surveyed said that they expect a decline in their level of trade with the UK, post-Brexit. PwC added that an "overwhelming" majority are concerned about the flow of goods to and from the Republic. Only one in ten reported to have a fully developed Brexit strategy in place.

On the other hand, more than 40 percent of those surveyed saw the greatest opportunity arising from Brexit as being the potential for increased FDI, as Ireland will be the only English-speaking member state in the EU. Among the other opportunities identified are Ireland's EU passporting benefits and that it could play a more prominent role in the EU.

PwC Global Trade & Customs leader John O'Loughlin explained: "Customs and tariffs are a key concern for Irish business leaders. If World Trade Organisation rules govern EU-UK trade relations post March 2019, competitiveness and costs would likely be impacted."

He added: "For importers into Ireland, companies also need to consider the tariff impact on the purchase of raw materials, ingredients, and finished goods with costs also expected to rise. For companies who import and subsequently export there are opportunities to mitigate the Brexit impact through the use of existing customs reliefs, [for example] inward processing relief."

TAGS: investment | business | free trade agreement (FTA) | Ireland | export duty | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | trade treaty | United Kingdom | agreements | import duty | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe

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