Irish exporters tied to UK trade ‘need Brexit help’

More than nine in 10 Irish exporters trade with the UK and need some sort of help in the budget next month to cushion the effects of Brexit, according to the Irish Exporters’ Association.

Calling for “strategic” investments in infrastructure, its survey said exporters based in rural areas complained that poor quality broadband and roads were hampering their efforts to do business.

Capital investments would help both Irish-owned firms and boost levels of foreign direct investment (FDI), said the association, which also wants the Government to provide compensation for firms struggling to deal with the slump in the value of sterling since Britain voted last year to leave the EU.

FDI levels would likely also be hit by housing shortages and skills shortages, according to the survey.

“We are now one year on from the UK voting to leave the EU and the prognosis for the Irish export industry shows that the impact will be severe,” said chief executive Simon McKeever.

“Our latest survey results are showing exporters are over-reliant on trade with the UK and some members are reporting their exports to the UK are decreasing. The extended period of uncertainty and the impact that this is having on sterling is hitting them hard.”

The survey found 93% of Irish-based exporters trade with the UK and almost half of exporters export more than 25% of goods or services directly to the UK.

Since the referendum, about a fifth of exporters said their UK exports have fallen; 17% said their exports had increased, and 62% said the exports to the UK were unchanged.

Amid the “long-term Brexit uncertainty”, 12% of exporting firms will seek to reduce their trade.

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