Enterprise Ireland (EI) will implement a range of key measures to help Irish SMEs and agri-food sector enterprises who export to the UK.
These include market diversification support; expansion of EI’s International Sector Clustering Strategy to promote co-operation between businesses; intensification of UK market support (advice on improving competitiveness, reducing supply chain costs, accessing funding, finance, foreign exchange as well as identification of key business opportunities); and management and financial supports including market access grants to evaluate new market opportunities.
Existing support tools provided by EI will also be finetuned to address new UK market conditions, while the effect on enterprise and trade in border counties will be monitored closely.
A dedicated unit has been established in the Department of Agriculture to work on relevant sectoral issues and the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed will convene a consultative committee of stakeholders to ensure a full exchange of information as the negotiations proceed.
"Safeguarding the interests of the Irish agri-food sector will be central in informing the Government’s overall approach to all negotiations pertaining to the UK’s exit from the EU," Minister Creed said in a statement.
The resilience of the Irish food sector, the long-standing and strong trading relationship between Ireland and the UK, and the close ties between both countries will help the Irish food industry navigate through these uncertain times
Bord Bia will provide practical guidance to SMEs to assist them in dealing with marketing challenges and the management of volatility arising in the short term. Additionally, Bord Bia’s London office will immediately engage with Ireland’s leading customers across the UK.
Aidan Cotter, CEO of Bord Bia, pledged that Bord Bia would continue to support and work with industry to maintain and build on this vital trading relationship against the background of any new trading arrangements that will be negotiated.
“The resilience of the Irish food sector, the long-standing and strong trading relationship between Ireland and the UK, and the close ties between both countries will help the Irish food industry navigate through these uncertain times,” he said.
Trade in border counties
The Government said that the work of InterTrade Ireland, the cross-border enterprise development body, would need to be revised and enhanced to ensure that companies trading across the border in both directions would be in a position to deal with added administrative burdens and procedures.
While ultimately dependent on the outcome of EU-UK trade negotiations, possible options for customs and excise controls will also be considered.
In minimising impediments in relation to cross-border movement of goods and services, options to consider include optimising the use of technology.
New instruments and mitigation strategies will be considered with regard to the value of sterling, including the role of export credit insurance mechanisms.
Diversification and new market strategies will be considered by Government for development of alternative export markets, where possible. In EU-UK negotiations, the unique trade inter-dependence of the UK and Ireland must be highlighted.
“Border counties that may be affected by a prolonged sterling devaluation will receive special consideration,” the Government said.