Many Irish retail businesses, from independent shops to large international chains, import stock from the UK, including Northern Ireland. This means that they directly or indirectly source their stock from the UK, or move it through the UK. Other retailers are exporters, selling stock to the UK either directly or online.
The revised Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland included in the Withdrawal Agreement provides for arrangements for trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland will remain aligned to a limited set of EU rules, notably those rules related to goods. This will avoid any customs or regulatory checks or controls on the island of Ireland. The detail of how this will work in practice will be decided by the Joint Committee during the transition period.
However, if you intend to continue to trade with Britain after the transition period or your Supply Chain
supply chain is partly dependent on Britain, you need to take steps to mitigate the impact of Brexit.
In particular, you need to ensure you are familiar with any new customs procedures and/or SPS checks; and depending on the type of product you import, you may have to pay tariffs after Brexit, all of which could impact on your current timelines, storage arrangements or cash flow.
Likewise, retailers selling into Britain need to prepare for how new customs and trading arrangements will impact them. Please see the Trading with the UK
trading with the UK page for further information.
What can businesses do now?
You should contact your UK suppliers, service providers and logistics companies, or your wholesalers and distributors, to seek assurances about the continuity of goods and services that you rely on for your business.
You should also check if your non-UK suppliers use the UK to transport goods to Ireland as there may be more lengthy lead times for delivery after Brexit and you need to consider the potential impact of this on your business.
You should contact your British customers to discuss how you will continue to trade after the transition period particularly in light of customs arrangements
and SPS checks
If you have any doubts about continuity in your supply chain you may need to consider the possibility of sourcing your goods or services in Ireland or elsewhere in the EU.
To help you prepare for the impact of Brexit on your business, there are a number of Government supports available.
If you’re unsure where to start, you can contact one of the 31 Local Enterprise Offices
(LEOs) across the country who can point you in the right direction. The LEOs also run a Brexit Mentor Programme
to support business owners and managers to identify key Brexit exposures and develop robust strategies to address issues and maximise potential opportunities.
Enterprise Ireland's Brexit Advisory Clinics
across the country offer information and practical support to companies.
If you work in food, drink or horticulture: Bord Bia’s Brexit Barometer
provides information on supply chain, currency, customs and international market diversification opportunities for the sector. Likewise, Fáilte Ireland’s Brexit Response Programme
is designed to support tourism-based businesses.
Cash flow may be impacted by Brexit and businesses should consider applying for a working capital loan through the Brexit Loan Scheme
through which eligible businesses can secure loans from €25,000 up to €1.5 million, including unsecured loans up to €500,000, for terms of up to three years and a maximum interest rate of 4%.