Irish businesses are seeking to reduce their dependence on the UK market amid concerns over the imposition of new Brexit-related checks or bureaucracy, according to Grant Thornton Ireland’s latest international business report .
The survey of 62 medium-sized Irish businesses found that more than a quarter (27%) were trying to reduce their exports to the UK, while 21% were trying to reduce their dependence on UK suppliers.
Since the UK’s departure from the EU, imports from Britain to the Republic have fallen as there has been a recovery in North-South trade, suggesting some businesses here are using the North as a solution bypass.
Trade bodies are warning, however, that new post-Brexit border controls due to come into force in June could lead to long delays at UK ports, further hampering trade.
As many Irish businesses reduce their exports to the UK, Ireland is looking to the US, where it has identified the biggest market opportunity for the next 12 months, underscoring a shift in focus from last year, where Irish businesses identified the UK as having the biggest market opportunity, according to the Grant Thornton report.
Despite the additional challenges posed by Brexit, Irish businesses still identify the UK as the main revenue growth territory over the coming year, indicating that despite the additional bureaucracy and red tape associated with Brexit, the UK will remain a key market for the Irish. companies, the report.
Amid the current surge in inflation, almost two-thirds (63%) of Irish businesses surveyed said they planned to raise selling prices over the next 12 months.
“While the results of the International Business Report reflect a continuing trend of concern for Irish businesses five years after Britain’s referendum to leave the EU, many Irish businesses have employed extra resources to deal with the realities of Brexit. “, said Jarlath O’Keefe, head of indirect taxes at Grant Thornton Ireland, said.
“Irish businesses are looking to explore alternative markets within the EU, US and China as they seek to reduce their reliance on the UK market,” he said. .
Although times are tough for Irish businesses amid rising inflation, labor shortages and Brexit bureaucracy, it is promising to see that 85% of businesses are optimistic for the next 12 months and channel their resources into exploring other non-domestic markets for business growth,” he said.