The government has introduced a new initiative to help Irish businesses deal with additional customs requirements post-Brexit.
The Clear Customs programme offers eligible customs agents, customs intermediaries and affected businesses a free training programme to build capacity in the customs sector.
The number of customs declarations required is expected by the government to increase due to Brexit, from 1.6 million annually to an estimated 20 million after the UK leaves the EU.
Clear Customs has two elements, those being a six-week training programme providing the essential skills needed to make a customs declaration.
The second element is that eligible businesses can apply for a Customs Financial Support payment to assist with the costs of recruiting and assigning new staff to customs roles. This payment is up to €6,000 per employee that completes the training programme, up to a maximum of 10 employees per company.
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said: “If you trade with the UK, Brexit will most definitely impact your business. This targeted measure is aimed at supporting and incentivising capacity building in the customs agent sector.
"This is complementary to the Government’s overall efforts to support and facilitate smooth and efficient trade flows.
"You should make necessary preparations now to minimise disruption to your business come 31 October – register for an EORI number, work out how you are going to make your customs declarations and if you will require a customs agent to assist you.”
Commenting on the new initiative, Minister Heather Humphreys called on businesses to act now before the Brexit deadline: “Many businesses are telling me that it is difficult to plan for a situation that remains so unpredictable. That is understandable.
"It can be difficult for firms to plan from week-to-week let alone beyond that and into the unknown. Notwithstanding the uncertainty, however, there are several areas where they can take immediate action to prepare. This Clear Customs initiative is one of those areas, so I am advising businesses to start now and not leave it too late.”
The Clear Customs initiative is led by Skillnet Ireland, the Government agency responsible for workforce development, together with Enterprise Ireland.
Skillnet Ireland is now seeking expressions of interest from businesses by the deadline of September 20. They can visit skillnetireland.ie/clearcustoms to learn more and register for the initiative.