Some Brexit relief for business on the island of Ireland - UK to remain within Common Transit Convention

Dec 19, 2018

The Common Transit Convention simplifies customs rules for importers and exporters; particularly for those who transit through some non-EU countries.  The British authorities have announced that it will remain in the Convention after Brexit.  The key advantage for Irish business, North and South, is that exports to the continent can pass through the UK to their final destination with reduced customs checks and controls. This means cash flow and supply chain benefits for traders as customs checks and charges are only carried out when goods reach their final destination. 

Despite the current uncertainty, businesses both North and South of the Border which have prepared early for Brexit are giving themselves a competitive advantage in identifying opportunities in new markets.  There are potential new opportunities in areas such as pharmaceuticals, machinery and financial and IT services for Irish businesses trading in goods and services into the EU. 

Director of Public Policy & Taxation Brian Keegan said: “many Irish businesses will have scope to gain from Brexit given our close proximity to the UK.  Some Northern Irish businesses, particularly in the food industry, could see opportunities for sales into Britain”.  Businesses in the South should look beyond their existing UK markets for opportunities in the EU and the UK remaining within the Common Transit Convention will greatly help that.  For example, Ireland is recognised as a world leader in the area of medicinal and pharmaceutical manufacturing.  “Post-Brexit, customers in EU countries could look to suppliers in Ireland rather than to the UK.”

Many businesses on the island of Ireland have already been revising their supply chains, evaluating staffing requirements and developing up to date customs knowledge to be ready for a no-deal Brexit.  Chartered Accountants Ireland is encouraging businesses to use the government supports that are already in place to help.

“With just over 100 days to go until the UK leaves, we don’t in any way want to downplay the problems that a no-deal Brexit will create for the economies North and South on this island; particularly for many agri-food traders.  During the recession years, Irish business defied the adverse economic climate, and many survived.  In terms of inward investment to the South, Ireland’s English speaking workforce and common law system will continued to be important factors in attracting foreign direct investment, particularly from outside Europe.  EU membership and participation in the Customs Union and Single Market gives Ireland clearly defined long-term trading relationships with third countries” according to Dr Keegan.  


Note to editors:

The Common Transit Convention is used for moving goods between the EU member states, the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) as well as Turkey, Macedonia and Serbia. The UK is currently a member of the Common Transit Convention while it is an EU Member State and will become a member in its own right after Brexit regardless of whether there is a Brexit deal. 

About Chartered Accountants Ireland:

Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s largest and longest established professional body of accountants founded in 1888.  The Institute, which is an all-island body, currently represents over 27,000 members around the world.  The Chartered Accountants Ireland Brexit Action Group coordinates extensive lobbying and public information activities to help its members North and South of the border prepare for the departure of the UK from the EU.

References: Dr Brian Keegan, Director of Public Policy and Taxation, E:
Bryan Rankin, Marketing Manager, T: +353 1 637 7268, E: