These are uncertain times.
The seismic shift in world and European politics following Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States has led to an environment of global political and economic uncertainty and challenging and uncertain times ahead for Irish businesses.
2016 has been a landmark and unprecendented year and Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described Brexit as ‘arguably the greatest economic and social challenge for this island in 50 years’. A Department of Finance / ESRI Survey has revealed that Irish GDP is forecast to be down by 2.3% from what it might have been within 5 years, even if Britain negotiated a free trade agreement with the EU.
The short and longer term impacts of these two major political events are still largely unknown and experts are still divided and uncertain on the full impact that they will have on Irish businesses.
With Uncertainty Comes Risk
There are key concerns for Irish exporters and with the potential for US corporation tax to be slashed to 15%, there will also be a massive impact on the many US companies with Irish global headquarters. Nobody quite knows what to expect and with uncertainty comes risk.
The market volatility has already had an impact and been quick and sharp in its response and this is likely to continue for the forseeable future. The landscape has utterly changed and it’s time now more than ever for Irish businesses to inform and educate themselves, face the challenges and be creative in coming together to have their voice heard.
Essential Businesses Are Represented
So where to now for Irish businesses post Brexit and Trump? It’s now essential for Irish businesses to ensure that they have the correct representation whether home grown, multinational, big or small whatever sector of the economy.
Ibec, Ireland's largest, most influential and best known business representation organisation, has committed to becoming Ireland’s leading voice of business on Brexit, safeguarding Ireland’s reputation, competitiveness and future.
Ibec Director of Policy Fergal O’Brien said: "Brexit and the possibility of a more protectionist US pose very significant risks to Ireland. The budget introduced some useful measures in response to Brexit, but did not go nearly far enough. Companies are moving quickly to manage severe competitive pressures, but an urgent, targeted national response is required.
"The exporting industries most affected by the sterling fall are typically job intensive and deeply embedded in local economies. A review of the historical exchange rate and agri-food export relationship shows that a 1% weakness in sterling results in a 0.7% drop in Irish exports to the UK. This has already begun. Our most recent trade figures for the year to August showed the value of Irish food exports to the UK fell by 8.1% annually. This fall accelerated to 14.5% annually in the two months since the referendum and has hit all categories", explained Fergal O'Brien.
Closely Working With Government and Stakeholders
Along with its 40 industry sector associations, Ibec leads, shapes and promotes business conditions to drive economic growth and secure prosperity, right across the country. Ibec works with their members to develop policy in key areas of interest. Through their close working relationships with politicians, government departments, state agencies, policy makers and other stakeholders, they ensure those interests stay at the top of the political agenda.
Ibec members receive unrivalled access to market data, economic and legal briefings, executive networking events and sector-specific conferences across the entire economy. Members can also tap into the scale of their employment law and HR practice to support with employee relations and HR policies and procedures.
From small to medium businesses to larger enterprises and employers looking for advice, networking and industry insights in this unprecedented time of political and economic change, it’s a key time to make the move and join Ibec. In this current environment of global uncertainty, Ibec will be the authoritative voice of Irish business.