In its latest Brexit Barometer, Bord Bía outlined the progress being made by Irish businesses ahead of the UK’s impending exit from the EU.
The report, which covers the period from 1 April to 7 May 2019, found that almost all (93%) respondents had made some progress on ‘Brexit preparedness’, with 65% saying they had made clear progress on the situation, a marked increase from 20% for the same survey conducted in 2018.
The survey found that larger food businesses were leading the progress, with 91% of these companies stating they had made clear progress, up from 43% in 2018. It was also reported that 72% have appointed an in-house team or champion to spearhead work on Brexit.
Bord Bía CEO Tara McCarthy said that, despite the progress being made by Irish food businesses, confusion over Brexit was causing disruption. “It has been said that there are no net upsides to Brexit for Ireland. The Government of Ireland’s Getting Ireland Brexit Ready campaign clearly outlines that this is a challenging political and economic scenario that undermines a close tie with our nearest neighbour and largest trading partner.
“Yet there is much to be encouraged by in the response of Irish companies to this challenge over the last year. The 2019 Brexit Barometer shows an industry that is attuned to the issues that lie ahead and both realistic and resolute in its response to them.”
The report also found that Irish food businesses were “uncertain” about what would happen once Brexit finally takes place. It reported that 68% of respondents found themselves uncertain as to the impact of Brexit on their business, with a further 22% pessimistic about its consequences.
McCarthy added that it appeared UK businesses were not at the same level of preparedness as Irish businesses. “In addition, while 57% of companies could point to growth in the UK market over the past year, many believe this to be based on a ‘business as usual’ approach by UK customers, who have not yet engaged with the challenge of sourcing in a post-Brexit environment.
“Against this, what is also strikingly clear from the 2019 data is that resilience and determination are very much at the core of the Irish industry response. It is clear that more and more Irish companies are actively looking beyond familiar marketplaces and this process is set to gain momentum as planning around Brexit translates into concrete actions.”
Bord Bía also published a list of recommendations for food businesses to consider when preparing for Brexit.
These included improving customer relationships, strengthening supply chains and preparing for any customs and controls issues that may arise when the UK leaves the EU.