Brexit Bulletin, 23 August 2019

Aug 23, 2019

This week, the Irish Government is urging businesses to get Brexit ready and have outlined nine key steps to do so. In other news, read about the recent developments on Brexit negotiations between Irish and UK political leaders and the UK’s announcement that they will issue out EORI numbers to some 88,000 VAT registered businesses.

Irish Government urges businesses to get Brexit ready

With less than ten weeks to go to the 31 October deadline, the Irish Government is urging businesses to prepare for Brexit regardless of the outcome. The Government is directly appealing to a number of sectors of concern, such as; smaller businesses, construction and manufacturing companies, agri-food businesses, retailers and hauliers sourcing from and/or through the UK.

The Irish Government have also highlighted the following nine steps to help businesses prepare better:

  1. Understand the new rules for UK importing and exporting
  2. Review your supply chain and UK market strategy
  3. Be aware of possible changes to transport and logistics
  4. Review all your certification, regulation and licencing
  5. Review your contracts and data management
  6. Ensure you are maximising Government Brexit programmes and supports
  7. Manage your cash flow, currency and make sure your banking is in order
  8. Protect and inform your staff
  9. Know more about the impact to your sector

Read more on the Irish Government’s Brexit resources.

Latest Brexit developments

Both Irish and UK governments have ramped up Brexit preparations. With reports stating that only 10 per cent of Brexit loan schemes have been accessed, the Irish Government is communicating via emails, letters and customs workshops to encourage businesses to prepare. In the UK, HMRC have stated that they will issue out EORI numbers to some 88,000 VAT registered businesses. It is not immediately clear where such an initiative sits within the EU Union Customs Code as it seems HMRC still require non VAT registered businesses to apply individually.

Meanwhile, it’s been reported that the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to visit Dublin to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in September this year. The reports come as a follow up from their phone call earlier this week where both leaders “shared perspectives on the Withdrawal Agreement” and discussed the Common Travel Area and restoring power-sharing in Stormont. While the Taoiseach reiterated the EU position on the importance of the backstop and continued free trade on the island of Ireland, Mr. Johnson remained firm on his stance on abolishment of the backstop. He restated his point later that day in his letter to the EU President, Donald Tusk, where he referred to the backstop as “anti-democratic”.

Leaked document highlights possibility of hard border in no-deal Brexit scenario 

The UK government are now operating on the assumption that a hard border will return, reveals a leaked UK no-deal contingency planning document, codenamed Operation Yellowhammer. The papers also warn of potential unrest in Northern Ireland, such as civic unrest, road blockades, job losses and disruption to the agri-food sector, as well as an increase in smuggling and the potential for disruption to electricity supply. 

Brexit preparedness resources

Clear Customs – Essential customs training

The Irish government have launched the Clear Customs initiative to help businesses and intermediaries develop capacity to complete customs administration post-Brexit.

As a part of the initiative led by Skillnet, businesses are being offered two main supports:

  • An essential customs training programme delivered nationwide over six weeks providing skills necessary to make customs declarations
  • Customs Financial Support payment to assist with the costs of hiring or assigning new staff to customs roles. The payment can be up to €6,000 per employee that completes the training programme - up to a maximum of 10 employees.

Expressions of interest for the customs training programme and Customs Financial Support payment must be made via the Skillnet Ireland website before 20 September 2019.

Readers should note that businesses will need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • must have an EORI number from Revenue. Read our guidance on how to apply for an EORI number
  • must have a CRO number
  • must be registered with the Company Registration Office and incorporated in the Republic of Ireland at the time of application
  • are providing freight, haulage, logistics services to, from or through the UK, or
  • are providing customs intermediary services or
  • are currently directly engaged in the import/ export, or are facilitating the import/export, of goods to, from, or through the UK and which will require new or increased customs clearance capacity

Customs workshops

Local Enterprise Offices are running customs workshops throughout the country from August to October to provide businesses with a better understanding of the potential impacts and customs procedures to be adopted when trading with a country outside of the EU.  These courses are open to all businesses and you can read the course outline here.  To see locations, dates and how to book, go to this link.

Irish Government Brexit Supports

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation have released a number of Brexit preparedness supports, including the Brexit preparedness checklist, the Brexit Loan Scheme and the Getting Business Brexit Ready guide. For the full range of supports for businesses, visit the Department’s website.

Read all our updates in our Brexit web centre and our page dedicated to no-deal Brexit planning.