Saturday 24 March 2018

Irish exporters should be ready for "hard" Brexit

The Union Jack and EU flag hang outside the EU parliament in Brussels
The Union Jack and EU flag hang outside the EU parliament in Brussels
Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland.
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Exporting firms need to prepare for the fall-out from a 'hard' Brexit, the head of Enterprise Ireland has said.

Julie Sinnamon said the agency is telling companies that they need to be prepared for whatever comes out of the Brexit talks. 

“What we have to do is plan for a hard Brexit. If it turns out to be better than that, so be it, but we are telling our companies you have to plan for a hard Brexit and put in place the building blocks today to be able to deal with whatever Brexit throws up,” Ms Sinnamon said.

It comes after UK Prime Minister Theresa May hinted that the UK will leave the Single Market and pledged to lay out her strategy for Brexit in the coming weeks.She said in an interview yesterday that Britain would be able to control its borders and suggested the UK would seek its own trading deal with the rest of the European Union post-Brexit, sending the pound falling to its lowest level against the dollar since October.

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At the launch of its end of year results, Ms Sinnamon said that by preparing for a hard Brexit, companies that are exposed to the UK market have to be as innovative and competitive as possible.She also urged companies to look at alternative markets.

“Companies are also developing strategies in terms of hedging and sourcing to be able to reduce the exposure [to the UK], but long term what we are seeing is a strategic shift and people will have to look at a long term plan and balance their markets more so than they have done in the past.”

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Enterprise Ireland announced today that more than 200,000 people are now employed by Enterprise Ireland supported companies – the highest in the history of the agency.

A total of 19,244 new jobs were created in EI-backed firms last year, with a net increase, when job losses are taken into account, of 9,117.

Almost two thirds of the jobs created last year were outside of Dublin. The agency also launched its 2017-2020 strategy, which aims for an increase of €5bn in exports per year and 60,000 new jobs.

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