Ireland Brexit panic: Varadkar issues stark warning for firms to brace for Janurary Brexit

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The Irish deputy premier declared there will be inevitable changes even if a free-trade agreement is concluded between Britain and the bloc. Dublin will be hit by huge changes because of its reliance on using Britain as a “landbridge” to transport goods to mainland Europe. Mr Varadkar said: “From the start of next year, customs declarations will need to be completed if businesses intend to continue trading with the UK, whether that is importing or exporting goods to the UK or using the UK as a land bridge to move their goods to or from mainland Europe.”

Ireland’s government is set to make issue grants up to €9,000 per employee taken on or redeployed to help businesses manage the new customs changes.

Business leaders have warned firms to review their plans to minimise disruption when Britain quits the EU’s single market and customs union in 99 days.

Fergus Sharpe, head of public affairs at Dublin Chamber, said: “It is crucial at this point that all companies with UK trade links examine their supply chains and put a plan in place now to minimise business disruption.

“The government has its own role to play in preparing Ireland for the new landscape by boosting Irish competitiveness versus the UK and encouraging investment in our SME base which is already struggling due to COVID-19.”

bec, a leading business lobby, called on Dublin to offer significant support to firms in the coming months to help with the impact of Brexit.

A spokesman said: “It is imperative that the government plays its role in supporting businesses in the event of a disruptive Brexit.

“Budget 2021 afford an opportunity to deliver comprehensive and meaningful supports for companies, workers, and communities which will be the most impacted by Brexit.”

The European Council has also announced a €5 billion special Brexit reserve fund to help countries deal with the fallout of Britain’s transition from EU rules.

Ireland are touted as one of the nations set to benefit from the emergency cash pot.

The country’s Department for Business, Enterprise and Innovation has urged firms to ensure they have sufficient cashflow to cope with disruptions to their supply chains.

“It could be impacted for a number of reasons, including currency fluctuations, tariffs or potential delays,” a statement said.

Mr Varadkar also warned firms to be prepared to alter their plans for securing EU standards certification because the industry has been forced to move away from Britain after Brexit.

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From the beginning of January, the UK will be considered a third country and will not allowed to host EU notification bodies.

Mr Varadkar said: “Businesses need to be sure their certifications and standards are EU compliant from January 1 next year.

“While this may not affect every business, it is really important for some.”

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IFA president Tim Cullinan has called for frictionless trade between Ireland and Britain, insisting it is vital for the country’s farmers.

He said: “The UK’s stated intention of leaving the single market and customs union and pursuing an independent trade policy including agri-food, makes it impossible to retain the kind of frictionless trade we have today.

“This would open the door to Britain directly competition with the EU in future trade deals, undercutting EU import tariffs and granting additional import quotas. That would be totally unacceptable.”

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