Latest CEO Update: Working together to chart a way out of the crisis

January 15, 2021

Dear member,

We are two weeks into the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and the details of the new trading relationship are being clarified in real-time, with the consequences for Irish business and consumers becoming evermore plain. It brings both immediate and transformative changes for trading with, in and through Britain for goods, and ultimately with the UK for services. Teething issues around implementation are already abundantly evident.

Provision for trade in services in the Agreement is highly limited, including uncertainty for the recognition of professional qualifications. An EU data adequacy decision to provide certainty for transfers beyond June remains outstanding. Furthermore, while the vast majority of goods will not be subject to tariffs nor quotas, the rules of origin provisions have significant ramifications for businesses with supply chains running through Britain for both EU and third country goods. 

Ibec has consistently argued for a pragmatic approach to the implementation of the TCA and will continue to advocate on your behalf to address arising issues and ensure as much certainty as possible. Colleagues and I are in ongoing contact with the Ministers, Government Departments and agencies to address these issues. We have also prepared a detailed analysis and assessment on the TCA which is available here.  

The commencement of the Covid vaccination programme gives us hope while we continue to live through the uncertainty of new waves of the crisis. The non-physical return to school has substantial impact for both business and home life. One positive is that our collective empathy can deliver a much needed step change to the stigma around mental health and how employee wellbeing can be supported. You can find out more about Ibec’s KeepWell initiative for employee wellbeing here.  

This morning’s publication of the Government Remote Working Strategy is a recognition of the changing face of our workplaces. With many employers actively developing their own remote and flexible working strategies, Ibec will continue to engage with Government on the proposed legislative initiatives to ensure a pragmatic approach that reflects the competitive needs of businesses.

As we observe the turmoil in the USA over the last week, we can see the pendulum beginning to swing back against populism. The importance of businesses in seizing this moment to shape future outcomes by avoiding deeper divides should not be lost. The pre-existing fault lines within society globally are accentuated in the current context and have the potential for exaggerated reactions during the political change that lies ahead. If nothing else, we must be informed and alert and support the renewed impetus for multilateralism.

As we grapple to plan ahead for our businesses, Ibec will continue to support you with insights and economic analysis to chart a way forward as we work to emerge from the crisis. On Monday, we will launch our CEO Insights Survey highlighting your perspectives and predications on the major business issues for 2021 and the permanent change the Covid pandemic has brought about. 

We will continue to support you to define the business landscape for 2021 and please let me know if you have any feedback, it's always good to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Danny McCoy
CEO, Ibec