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At the Borderline: Tackling Issues of International Trade Post-Brexit

As a small open economy, Ireland has always been dependent on international trade. We have developed connections all over the globe and converted these connections into trading relationships, which have been the catalyst to help our economy grow.

In recent years, our strongest trading relationship is with our nearest neighbour, the UK. However, we are now close to 50 days away from the biggest upset to this trading relationship that we have ever seen.

On 31st December 2020, the transition period ends, and the UK will be treated as a third country. To trade with the UK, customs declarations will have to accompany goods moving in or out of the UK. Trading with the UK, from a customs perspective, will be the same as trading with a country with no trade deal, where international trade in the absence of a trade agreement takes place under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

The scale of the problem

We currently have approximately 94,000 Irish firms trading with the UK. To continue to trade with the UK post-Brexit, an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) will be required, which over 50,000 Irish firms trading with the UK currently do not have.

An application for an EORI number is completed online, takes approximately 5 minutes and is critical for all 50,000 of these companies should they wish to continue to trade with the UK. Without this number, these companies will cease trading with the UK. It is that simple.

In addition to requiring an EORI number, all goods will have to be accompanied by a customs declaration. As we go from 1.6 million customs declarations per annum to 20 million customs declarations per annum, capacity issues with existing brokers and freight forwarders to complete the required declarations will become sorely obvious.

Tackling the problem

To help address the problem, Skillnet Ireland have partnered with the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT) and CILT Skillnet, under the Getting Ireland Brexit Ready initiative, to develop a unique upskilling initiative. Clear Customs, a free, online training programme, is designed to support Irish businesses develop the capacity to deal with the additional customs requirements that will be needed.

Clear Customs will train up to 3,000 learners in how to make a customs declaration, for export and import. The training is delivered online by experienced customs professionals, supported by an innovative app-based programme, to develop critical skills.

The course is free to eligible applicants and is accredited by Carlow Institute of Technology. Upon successful completion participants will be awarded a Certificate of Customs Clearance Procedures (10 credits at Level 6).

Stop waiting, start preparing

Brexit is coming and goods will only be able to move to and from the UK accompanied by a customs declaration. Without a declaration, there will be no movement.

Skillnet Ireland encourages all companies trading with the UK to start preparing now, to apply for an EORI number, contact a freight forwarder or customs broker to see if they will make declarations on your behalf, ands finally, join themu on the Clear Customs training programme.

Visit www.clearcustoms.ie to learn more.