Retail Ireland has welcomed the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement as a very important achievement that establishes the potential for an orderly UK withdrawal from the European Union.
“The draft Brexit withdrawal agreement contains very welcome provisions that would minimise disruption to the Irish business community," said Thomas Burke, Director of Retail Ireland.
In a statement the the Ibec group that represents the sector warned that enormous political hurdles remain before a deal is ratified and until then retailers must continue preparing for a potential ‘no deal’ Brexit.
"However, until the agreement is ratified, we are continuing to caution our members as to the risks of a ‘no deal’ outcome. A ‘no deal’ outcome would have devastating economic consequences and must be avoided. The sooner we have certainty around the deal the better," Burke highlighted.
Brexit: Putting Consumers First
The warning comes as the group today launched a new Brexit policy paper entitled, 'Brexit: Putting Consumers First' that calls on Government to continue to focus on Brexit-proofing the cost competitiveness of Ireland’s largest private sector employer.
This includes increased investment in vital infrastructure at Ireland’s ports to ensure supply chain operations remain seamless and additional costs are minimised.
Burke said that regardless of the type of Brexit agreed over the coming weeks, retailers will see an increase in their operating costs arising from checks at ports and other supply chain disruption.
"In the current operating environment, these additional costs simply cannot be absorbed by retailers and will have to be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices," he added.
"A recent ESRI report suggests that with the inclusion of tariffs and taxes, it could increase the cost of living by up to 3% or €1,360 per annum. Government must do all in its power over the coming weeks and months to minimise this impact.”
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.