Belfast Telegraph

Most Irish firms unready for trade barriers after UK's EU pullout

By Colm Kelpie

Just one in four major Irish companies has contingency plans in place to deal with potential trade barriers post-Brexit, according to a survey by UCD's Smurfit School.

And just a fifth are prepared for dealing with the threat of border controls.

The study of business executives from public, private and semi-state firms found that businesses are "significantly under-prepared" for several macro-economic risks.

The risks for which firms are most prepared include large-scale cyber-attacks, slowdown in economic growth, a massive incident of data fraud/theft, currency shocks, and dampened customer confidence.

"But aside from these areas of preparedness, we were surprised that the firms in our sample are woefully underprepared for some real and tangible risks, such as geo-political tensions, political uncertainty, border controls, trade barriers, tax policy, and regulation," the report stated.

"It is alarming that only one in five firms in our sample has a contingency plan in place for the tightening of border controls, and that one in four has a contingency plan in the event of the erection of new trade barriers."

In addition, only a quarter of firms have a contingency plan in place in the event of political or policy uncertainty, and less than a third are prepared for a fiscal crisis, a significantly tighter regulatory regime, or a deterioration in cost competitiveness. Led by UCD Smurfit School's Professor Patrick Gibbons and Associate Professor Ciaran Heavey, responses to the survey were received from 225 executives across 180 companies.

The average company had sales of €111m (£98m), employed 380 staff and had been in operation for 35 years.

The companies included banking, professional services, construction, energy, heath and pharma, and food and agribusiness.

Belfast Telegraph

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