The introduction of new import and export processes and enhanced checks and controls on EU-UK trade may lead to disruption in the supply chains of Irish-based retail businesses.
Supply chains have been built up over time and will take time to readjust. Any isolated issues are being worked through and we continue to be assured by retailers that supply is robust and strong at shelf level and stores are well stocked.
Businesses, no matter how small, must take steps to understand the impacts these new rules or processes have on operations and mitigate against any disruption to supply chains.
The Government continues to work closely with the Retail Forum and with stakeholders in the grocery retail and distribution sector, to this end.
Many Irish retail businesses, from independent shops to large international chains, import stock from the UK, including Northern Ireland. This means that they directly or indirectly source their stock from the UK, or move it through the UK. Other retailers are exporters, selling stock to the UK either directly or online. It is important to note the operating environment for online retail has also changed.
Separately, the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland ensures that many of the changes arising in our trade with Great Britain do not apply to trade with Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland remains aligned to a limited set of EU rules, notably those rules related to goods. This avoids any customs or regulatory checks or controls on the island of Ireland.
However, if you trade with Great Britain or your Supply Chain is partly dependent on Great Britain, you need to mitigate the impacts of Brexit.
In particular, you need to ensure you are familiar with any customs procedures and/or SPS checks; and depending on the type of product you import, you may have to pay tariffs, all of which could impact on your current timelines, storage arrangements or cash flow.
Likewise, retailers selling into Great Britain need to prepare and ensure they can comply with any new checks and controls that the UK may put in place. Please see the Trading with the UK page for further information.
There are a number of Government supports available to help you deal with the changes resulting from Brexit
If you’re unsure where to start, you can contact one of the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) across the country who can point you in the right direction.
InterTradeIreland provides a range of Brexit supports and advice through its Brexit Advisory Service. As well as support through voucher funding, the Brexit Advisory Service also offer a tailor-made online learning tool, a tariff checker, glossary of key Brexit terminology, research, networking and information events.
Enterprise Ireland is running a series of Brexit Webinars with information and key tips that will help your business mitigate some of the risks of Brexit. Visit the ‘Prepare for Brexit’ portal for more information, including the Ready for Customs Grant.
If you work in food, drink or horticulture Bord Bia provides a range of services for the food and drinks sector. This includes the Brexit Readiness Radar, a Food and Drink Action Plan, Customs Readiness Programme, Supply Chain Workshops and bespoke Mentoring Programmes.
It also provides fresh UK consumer and customer insights and data via the Bord Bia Thinking House. In light of the disruption caused by COVID-19, it has also launched a series of programmes to assist clients to defend and grow UK business via virtual pitches and online customer engagement.
Cash flow may be impacted by Brexit and businesses should consider applying for a working capital loan through the Brexit Loan Scheme providing affordable working capital to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees that are exposed to current or future impacts arising as a result of Brexit. This scheme is underpinned by a guarantee from the European Investment Fund (EIF).