Most cross-border businesses ‘ignoring Brexit’, research says

26 Aug 2019

Image: © lazyllama/

Research from InterTradeIreland says Irish businesses are not paying enough attention to the cross-border implications of Brexit as the current October deadline draws near.

It is difficult to speak about Brexit with any certainty. Representatives from the UK and the EU are still bucking horns on the particulars and so the deal terms can feel as if they are always up in the air. After the initial March deadline for Brexit was extended, it is reasonable to question whether the current deadline for 31 October will meet a similar fate.

This may be partially what’s behind new figures released by InterTradeIreland today, which claims that only 6pc of cross-border businesses “are prepared for cash flow and liquidity issues in the event of a no-deal Brexit”.

The research, part of the organisation’s all-island business monitor, is based on the views of more than 750 business managers across Northern Ireland and Ireland.

The same percentage of businesses (6pc) have examined the possible legal implications on business contracts if the UK leaves the EU. InterTradeIreland has warned that changes to market access could mean that businesses are exposed to additional costs.

‘Elephant in the room’

The new research shows continuity of supply is a problem that could hinder cross-border business and the ability of companies to trade. Despite this risk, the firm says “only less than one in ten have taken steps to interrogate their supply chain”.

It also examined the potential implications of tariffs, which “could strike at the very viability of SMEs in the event of a hard Brexit”. According to the organisation, a little more than one in 10 businesses (12pc) that trade across the border have looked at the impact of extra taxes on their business.

Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland’s designated officer and director of strategy and policy, said: “Ignoring Brexit is a bigger issue than not preparing for it. Failing to take into account how it may impact your business could be very detrimental down the line. We want to reach as many SMEs as possible to help them prepare.

“Brexit is the ‘elephant in the room’ and with the deadline of 31 October fast approaching, [it] is now just too big to brush under the carpet.”

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic