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With the Brexit deadline fast approaching, some Irish businesses are not prepared for new customs regulations, says Oisin Geoghegan, Chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices. “If your business moves goods to, from, or through the UK, you need to prepare your business for customs before Brexit takes place,” he emphasises.
The one-day interactive ‘Prepare Your Business for Customs’ workshops are open to businesses of all sizes, across every sector and industry, and are completely free of charge. They are delivered through the Local Enterprise Offices in every county and are part of the ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’ campaign, funded by the Irish government.
“Local Enterprise Offices have been working closely with their 7,000 client companies ever since Brexit was announced in 2016,” explains Mr Geoghegan. “These Customs Training Workshops provide practical information, to ensure that when Brexit finally happens, there are no shocks for businesses here.” Although many have heeded the call, he is quick to add that it is still not too late for any small business that has yet to plan for Brexit. “The door of your Local Enterprise Office is open to help you plan for this year and beyond.”
“The majority of our small businesses in Ireland are dealing with the EU, and even if you’re only trading through the UK, you do need to be aware of these new regulations,” he stresses. “The risks of severe disruption are undeniable; every business needs to examine the level of their exposure, and put contingency plans into place. Preparation is everything.”
Dr Thomas Callanan of Infrastruct AMS Limited in Laois is a firm believer in the benefits of the customs workshops offered by the Local Enterprise Offices. Infrastruct Asset Management Services Limited provides a wide range of specialist testing and investigations services to the construction, engineering and water infrastructure industries in Ireland and UK. It was a finalist in the National Enterprise Awards in 2017, supported by Local Enterprise Office Laois.
“Taking the workshop very definitely helped our business become better prepared for new customs regulations when Brexit finally happens,” says Dr Callanan, who regularly has to move testing equipment between his bases in Ireland and the UK. “There are a great many things that you might not think of, procedures that we take for granted at the moment, but which will change materially when the UK leaves the EU,” he explains. “The workshop was exceptionally good in providing practical information and guidance, so that we would be as ready as we could be. I would recommend any small or medium-sized business in Ireland to take one of these workshops as soon as possible.”
Ester Murray, of Cork-based Ester’s Aromas, agrees wholeheartedly. Her business is, as yet, fairly small, but attending the Customs Workshop through Local Enterprise Office South Cork definitely helped her become better prepared for the changes, she agrees, as well as showing what she should be doing to ensure that all went smoothly.
Ms Murray set up her company some four years ago, wanting, as she explains, to make a range of products that were free from harmful chemicals and preservatives. EstersAromas creates natural skincare products, plus a range of gloriously-scented candles with a mix of vegetable rapeseed oil and natural soya.
Her products are now stocked in pharmacies across the country, and she is looking to expand into Europe, so found the free workshop extremely useful. “The information was so helpful. It started with what does Brexit mean for business in Ireland, and what we will need to do to prepare for whichever the outcome proves to be, hard or soft, deal or no deal.” She feels that the support and advice offered is useful to both big and small businesses, or even supporting people, for example accountants working for companies.
“Then they explained about registering for the new EORI number, which I think most business people in Ireland have done already. After that, they explain about your tariff codes. You can get these from your supplier, but they do urge you at the workshop to research your own at www.revenue.ie. It really is important to have your own research done as this could have an effect on your imports.” There is a lot of information to take in, she admits, “but somehow they cover everything you need to know in one day.”
Strengthened by the good advice and guidance she gained from the Customs Workshop, Ester is now looking forward with optimism. “Obviously we don't really know where Brexit is going, and how it will actually affect us, but at least I feel I have done all the necessary practical preparation for the worst-case scenario. Apart from that, I am certainly looking to expand my business further into Europe”
To find out more about the Customs Training Workshops, and other Brexit supports, visit: here.
The ‘Prepare Your Business for Customs’ workshops are delivered by the Local Enterprise Offices, as part of the ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’ campaign, which is an initiative of the Government of Ireland. Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities are funded by Enterprise Ireland through the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
To book your place today, visit: here.