The strong export ties between the United Kingdom and Ireland have been a major economic driver for both countries. Not only is the United Kingdom one of the biggest export partners of Ireland – buying a total of €15 billion worth of goods in 2016 plus 50% of the country’s exported beef and 42% of its food and drink – but UK is Ireland’s only land border in EU, and vice versa. In fact, some 80% of the Irish road freight that reaches mainland Europe passes through the UK.
Those factors alone make UK-Irish trade a unique relationship. However, looming Brexit looming, there are critical border issues and challenges that are expected to disrupt this trading relationship and force Irish exporters to rethink their supply chain operations.
Yet, despite the potential supply chain upheaval Brexit could cause, a large majority of Irish export companies are yet to develop mitigation strategies. According to reports, two-thirds of Irish exporters are still unprepared for the impending withdrawal of the UK from EU and have not put any countermeasures in place to mitigate Brexit risks. Of these companies, 23% said the lack of information on alternative markets to the UK as the main obstacle to identifying and establishing a foothold in new markets.