The British Irish Chamber of Commerce and financial services advisory firm BDO have declared that predictions of falling business between the UK and Ireland are "considerably overstated", adding that normal volumes of trade will return this year.
Both parties are in agreement that the UK is and will remain a key trading partner for Ireland with businesses rebounding as they adapt to the new arrangements, reports RTÉ.
Speaking at ACCA's Business Leaders Forum event, John McGrane, director general, British Irish Chamber of Commerce, and Carol Lynch, partner, BDO, pointed to new statistics issued by the CSO showing that Irish exports to Britain have risen by 13% in March compared with the same month in 2020, following a fall in the first two months of 2021.
While there remains a fall in imports, Mr McGrane and Ms Lynch say this is can be attributed to the shutdown of the economy as a result of Covid and the steep learning curve from implementing the new customs and agricultural controls from 1 January.
Both parties worked closely with businesses to adapt to new regulations as a result of Brexit, admitting that it was a challenge for companies to acclimatise.
Businesses now have streamlined processes in place and it is expected that close to normal levels of trade should resume as the economies in both countries re-open and import/export requirements move to being business as usual.
Positive Trading Relationship
Lynch said the drop in trade in Q1 of 2021 was expected, with many businesses stockpiling in anticipation of disruption "When combined with the closure of the UK and Irish retail and hospitality sectors for most of the year, the drop in imports and exports does not paint the full picture."
Caitriona Allis, Head of ACCA Ireland said it is crucial for the economy that Ireland maintains trade with its nearest partner in the UK, but admits there are "very real impediments including increased documentation, customs checks, and regulatory burden costs which are all adding to the complexity of importing and exporting between Ireland and the UK.
Allis added, "With support, businesses can and will overcome these trading challenges and we look forward to a positive and prosperous trading relationship with the UK in the years ahead."