Chambers Ireland has today (24 December 2020) welcomed the announcement by the European Commission and UK Government that a trade deal has been agreed.

Speaking today, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said,

“Today’s announcement will come as a significant relief to the many businesses who expect to continue trading with the UK. Without this agreement, there would be significant additional costs through tariffs defined by WTO Rules and we thank the negotiating teams for their tireless efforts to find the necessary compromises. We now urge the Council and European Parliament, and the UK, to ratify this deal as quickly as possible so that the agreement can take effect immediately at the end of the transition period.

Beyond January, the UK and EU must continue to build on this deal. While the UK may have left the EU, the importance of the trading relationship to Ireland, and the wider EU cannot be understated. The EU and UK must continue to work together to ensure that this deal is SME-friendly and that emerging trade barriers are reduced.

Businesses will undoubtedly have questions about how to benefit from the new trade agreement. Our member Chambers will play their role in getting information out to business, but State agencies will need to ensure they are available throughout the Christmas and New Year period to support business, answer queries and give advice on navigating the new deal. Pragmatic decision making by relevant Authorities to solve inevitable issues will also be required during this time to ensure trade continues to flow smoothly.”

Also speaking today, Chambers Ireland President Mags Brennan urged business to continue to get Brexit Ready and prepare for the new relationship.

“A deal, although welcome, does not mean that significant disruption in January will be avoided. While a trade agreement is good for relations and reduces the cost involved, a Free Trade Agreement is fundamentally different to the freedoms enjoyed when the UK was a member of the European Union and the Single Market.

Our message to business is to avoid complacency at all costs. Understanding how the end of the transition period impacts your supply chain, your logistics and customs and VAT obligations is hugely important. If you have not taken steps to prepare, do so immediately. Reach out to State agencies, speak to your bank and understand what steps you will need to take to insulate your business from any disruption that might occur in the New Year.”