Chartered Accountants Ireland has warned that the introduction of customs controls between Ireland and the UK as a result of Brexit is now almost inevitable, and that Irish businesses and consumers in every part of the country will feel the effects. Speaking at a meeting of Chartered Accountants and guests at Markree Castle, Sligo today [Thurs 1 June 2017], Brian Keegan, director of Public Policy and Taxation at the Institute also pointed out the difficulties which many smaller Irish exporters and importers will face for the first time.
“The Single Market and the Customs Union have been operational since 1 January 1993, and most of us now take these benefits for granted. All of us, citizens and businesses alike have forgotten about the constraints of tariffs and Customs obligations between this country and the UK; indeed many of our citizens have never known them. The returns of tariffs and customs will have extremely important consequences for businesses.
“Chartered Accountants Ireland recently surveyed members in business, including those operating in the North West Region, to gauge their readiness for the reintroduction of tariffs between Ireland and the UK. The businesses we spoke to were concerned about the higher prices which the reintroduction of tariffs will entail. But we also found that Irish business was concerned about other aspects of the reintroduction of tariffs – their paperwork, their payment and their policing. Businesses reported little clarity on how customs arrangements might operate following the termination of the Article 50 period.” These concerns were once again raised and debated by members and guests of the Chartered Accountants Ireland North West Society at yesterday’s event.
“Many businesses in Ireland lost or downgraded their customs expertise post 1992 on the introduction of the Single Market. There were suggestions that delays in clearing customs could, for practical purposes, eliminate cross-border trade between the North and the South.
“Every effort should be made to sustain the advantages of a Common Transit Area. This would enable goods to be shipped from Ireland to Mainland Europe via the UK without customs penalties. The real challenge for Ireland will be to facilitate Customs administration for the many businesses exclusively importing from or exporting to the UK which have to deal with Customs obligations for the first time. For them, this is tantamount to the introduction of a new tax.”
Brian Keegan was speaking at the Chartered Accountants North West District Society event which was held in the beautiful surroundings of the newly renovated and reopened Markree Castle. Eva Dearie, Wild Atlantic Way Business Manager with Failte Ireland also spoke at the event. Eva encouraged all in attendance to see tourism and the Wild Atlantic Way as a vital vehicle to support the regional economy. While tourism in the North West is still reliant on cross border trade, visitor numbers from across Europe have increased significantly. The volume of UK guests coming into Ireland now ranks at position four, this is a drop from its traditional top position. The key message for visitors to the Wild Atlantic Way is to slow down, stay longer in each area.