Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, will this morning (Thursday 11 May 2017) meet EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Dublin to set out a range of key business concerns and discuss the way forward. Ibec CEO Danny McCoy will stress the need for a range of key Irish concerns to be directly and explicitly addressed in exit negotiations, and in the terms of a future EU-UK trade deal. Comprehensive contingency planning is needed both at a national and EU level, including providing for future state aid support.
In advance of the meeting at European Commission offices, Dublin, Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said: "There is a welcome recognition in Brussels of the unique risks Brexit presents to Ireland. These now need to be directly and explicitly addressed in negotiations and in the terms of a future EU-UK trade deal. Tailored Irish provisions will need to cover free movement of people, but also the massive trade exposure of key sectors and the potential impact on highly integrated cross-border supply chains.
"A temporary EU state aid framework will be needed to offset the worst effects of Brexit on otherwise viable firms. The current EU rescue and restructuring rules are designed to protect large industries that have already gone through liquidation. They will be of limited use to businesses forced to quickly diversify and restructure because of Brexit."
Commenting on the EU negotiating position, Mr McCoy said: "Irish business wants a pragmatic, mutually beneficial outcome to negotiations, which maintains existing strong EU-UK business ties. This view is shared by our EU and UK business partners alike. An ambitious, comprehensive free trade deal is the aim, but fair competition must also underpin any new relationship. It is vital that early agreement is reached on exit terms, so substantial talks on the terms of the future EU-UK relationship can begin.
"The two year Brexit timetable is an incredibly short period for business planning, especially with so much ongoing uncertainty. We must avoid cliff edge scenarios, which would cause massive trade disruption and have serious economic consequences. Comprehensive transitional arrangements will be needed to bridge the gap between the UK exit and any new trade deal coming into effect."
Ibec is advising all member companies to examine how Brexit might impact their business and is providing contingency planning support. The Ibec guide to managing Brexit is available at www.ibec.ie/brexit. It sets out potential implications for companies, and includes a toolkit to help companies assess the risks and prepare a response.