65% of respondents say the exit of the UK from the EU, and the new EU-UK trading relationship, has had a negative impact on their business.
67% have experienced increased costs due to additional customs administration and paperwork.
70% have seen delays in the delivery of products and supplies due to new customs procedures.
62% have experienced increased costs associated with sourcing products/supplies from the UK.
49% are having problems understanding customs procedures.
The results of a recent Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) survey of SMEs in Ireland have provided key insights into how businesses are managing to navigate the export process following the UK’s exit from the EU.
Almost two thirds of company respondents said that the exit of the UK from the EU, and the new EU-UK trading relationship, has had a negative impact on their business. A sizable 70% of respondents had experienced delays in the delivery of products and supplies due to new customs procedures, while 67% had seen increased costs due to additional customs administration and paperwork.
With 62% of these companies recording increased costs associated with sourcing products/supplies from the UK, 40% have already identified new suppliers outside the UK and 26% have explored the potential of a new customer base outside the UK market due to Brexit-related uncertainty.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Katherine Fitzpatrick, Director of International Relations at Cork Chamber, who coordinated the survey on behalf of the Irish EEN network, said, “The statistics and comments arising from this survey indicate that not only is the new trading relationship with the UK having a significant cost impact on SMEs, but it is causing delays and confusion, as many companies are still struggling to understand the full implications of the changes, and where to find reliable and clear information.”
A quarter of the respondents have restructured their supply chain, including 28% who have started using an alternative route to import/export products due to challenges with transiting the landbridge, and a further 28% who have not yet made this move but indicated that they are likely to do so in the future.
Comments from respondents surveyed across the Republic of Ireland indicated that there are still high levels of confusion and a lack of clarity around the customs paperwork and administrative requirements when dealing with the new trading scenario, with 49% admitting that they are having problems understanding customs procedures. Significantly, 35% have made arrangements with a customs agent to help them with their import/export paperwork and another are 25% likely to in the future, with just 8% planning to lodge their own customs declarations.
In their preparations for Brexit, 59% of respondents registered for an EORI number and 54% attended Brexit webinars, however over 40% of respondent were not aware of the government or state agency supports that are available to businesses to support their Brexit strategy.
Commenting further, Ms Fitzpatrick said: “Some of the challenges noted by companies included confusion around VAT and tax issues when dealing with the UK; difficulty in finding the information they need from UK counterparts and shipping/logistics partners; as well as general confusion around the status of trade with Northern Ireland. Outside of the trade in goods, respondents noted that the services sector is dealing with a lot of uncertainty regarding their UK relationships.
Sourcing from new markets was noted as a priority for many companies at present, and this is an area where the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) can assist, by helping businesses to identify new partnerships in international markets. I would encourage business owners who are struggling with these issues to make contact with their local EEN office for advice on where to start.”