Irish exporters face 'very challenging' global market due to Covid-19 and Brexit

Julie Sinnamon, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland. File photograph

Irish exporters face a “very challenging” global market in 2020 due to the threats of Covid-19 and Brexit, warns Enterprise Ireland.

Companies trading internationally have been impacted in every market due to the global nature of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Enterprise Ireland said contracts with Irish businesses are down 12 per cent compared to last year and that approximately 1,000 of their client companies have been impacted by Covid-19.

Of these 1,000 companies, 75 per cent said Covid-19 caused a negative impact on exports and more than half saw a decrease in cashflows.

The agency also warned that the impact on exporters for the latter half of 2020 will be challenging and that they face dealing with the Covid-19 impact on their business and also the impending January 1st Brexit deadline.

Commenting on the report, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said: “We have already put in place a range of measures to help businesses get through the unprecedented difficulties caused by Covid-19, including grants, low cost loans and deferred tax liabilities. We know we need to do more as our economy continues to reopen."

Julie Sinnamon, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland said: “Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic we’ve seen many Irish businesses pivot in response to emerging market needs in areas such as contact tracing, traveller safety and confidence in airports and hygiene transparency in the hospitality sector."

“The second half of 2020, however, is expected to be one of the most challenging facing Irish businesses in recent history," she said.

“Brexit is now a reality and from the 1st January, for the first time, Irish exporters to the UK are going to be faced with new changes to customs procedures, regulatory alignment and, undoubtedly, additional costs. Every Irish exporter must now ensure that they take action in terms of securing their supply chains, customer base and meeting new regulatory requirements."