Tuesday 20 August 2019

Chamber President doesn't fear Brexit

Brexit impact

Wexford Chamber’s Graham Scallon
Wexford Chamber’s Graham Scallon

Brendan Keane

The president of Wexford Chamber, Graham Scallan, has said there are both negative and positives aspects to Brexit and speaking to this newspaper he highlighted areas where he feels opportunities might arise for Ireland and Wexford.

'I am a believer in spending time on the things you want to happen and not the things you don't want to happen,' he said.

Mr Scallan said an opportunity could arise from the fact that when the UK leaves the European Union it will leave Ireland as the only native English-speaking country in the EU.

In view of that fact he said: 'Despite the UK's intention to cut its corporate tax rate to 15 per cent it should be possible to secure a greater share of foreign direct investment in Ireland.'

Mr Scallan also believes the financial services sector is an area that Ireland and Wexford could potentially exploit.

'Financial services headquarter operations may be moved from the UK to another jurisdiction within the EU through which they "passport" their financial services,' he said.

He commented that with Ireland having a 'similar economic and cultural landscape to the UK' in addition to it being the only English-speaking member state once Britain leaves it could prove very attractive to new businesses and existing companies wishing to relocate their headquarters.

However, he said to maximise that potential the country needs to be marketed as the obvious location for new business and possible relocations.

Mr Scallan said all Government agencies need to be adequately prepared to deal with the added pressure and activity that will arise in the wake of Brexit including the Revenue Commissioners, the Central Bank and the CRO.

He added it might be possible to strengthen trade with the UK as new trading terms will be required and Ireland will benefit from the strength associated with it still being an EU member state.

Mr Scallan also suggested some UK companies might to extend their existing operations beyond the UK to maintain their EU presence and said because of similarities in how we do business Ireland would be an ideal location for them.

'It is likely that the UK will look to other jurisdictions such as North America for closer ties [and] this is an economic relationship we're uniquely positioned to contribute to and benefit from on a potential trilateral basis,' he said.

Mr Scallan also said Brexit, while obviously presenting a challenge, also provides an opportunity for development of other markets within and outside of the EU in an effort to reduce Irish reliance on the UK market.

'It is a timely opportunity to review our tax regime to ensure that it is competitive and attractive with particular reference to securing FDI (Foreign Direct Investment),' he said.

He said the Irish tax base could be expanded by ensuring that people seeking to reclaim their Irish heritage would be encouraged to do so with information made readily available relating to the processes involved.

Ms Scallan said there is a need to improve overall infrastructure and that office space, schooling, transport and housing need to be top of the agenda.

Gorey Guardian