Friday 16 November 2018

Just quarter of leading firms have plan to cope with Brexit-induced trade barriers

Just a quarter of firms have plans to deal with potential trade barriers after Brexit
Just a quarter of firms have plans to deal with potential trade barriers after Brexit

Colm Kelpie

Just one in four major companies has contingency plans in place to deal with potential trade barriers after Brexit, according to a survey by UCD's Smurfit School.

And just a fifth are prepared for the threat of Border controls.

The study of business executives from leading public, private and semi-state firms found they are "significantly under-prepared" for several macro-economic risks.

The risks for which firms are most prepared include large-scale cyberattacks, slowdown in economic growth, a massive incident of data fraud/theft, currency shocks, and dampening customer confidence.

"But aside from these areas of preparedness, we were surprised that the firms in our sample are woefully underprepared for some real and tangible risks, such as geopolitical tensions, political uncertainty, border controls, trade barriers, tax policy, and regulation," the report stated. "It is alarming that only one in five firms in our sample have a contingency plan in place for the tightening of border controls, and that one in four have a contingency plan in the event of the erection of new trade barriers."

In addition, only a quarter of firms have a contingency plan in place in the event of political or policy uncertainty, and less than a third are prepared for a fiscal crisis, a significantly tighter regulatory regime, or a deterioration in cost competitiveness.

Led by UCD Smurfit School's professor Patrick Gibbons and associate professor Ciaran Heavey, responses to the survey were received from 225 executives across 180 companies. The average company had sales of €111m, employed 380 staff and had been in operation for 35 years.

They represented sectors including banking, professional services, construction, energy, health and pharma, and food and agribusiness.

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