A hard Brexit could result in a 20pc drop in the level of UK trade to Ireland, lead to 40,000 job losses and reduce Irish GDP by up to 4pc within a decade, according to the British Irish Chamber of Commerce (BICC).
The stark warning was issued at a special Brexit forum hosted by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) yesterday.
Paul Lynam, Head of Sectoral Policy at the BICC said any agreement reached by the European Union and the UK on the terms of its withdrawal should put standards front and centre.
Lynam warned that a failure to do so could result in long delays at all ports of entry due to stricter requirements and increased paperwork.
“According to the OECD, crossing-the-border documentation and customs compliance requirements, lengthy administrative procedures and other delays can increase transaction costs by up to 24pc of the value of traded goods,”Lynam said.
He continued to say that harmonised standards have helped firms reduce costs, enhance efficiency, as well as enter new markets and increase customer satisfaction.
Meanwhile, the group representing Irish milk processors also voiced their Brexit concerns at the event.
Over 800 million litres of milk criss-cross the Northern Ireland border each year, and fears are growing that the reintroduction of tariffs, or a change in standards, could hurt Irish milk producers.
“Standards are the rock on which the international reputation of Irish dairy and specialised nutrition products is built. The Brexit vote has the potential to undermine this hard won reputation,” Conor Mulvihill of the Irish Dairy Industries Association said.
“The UK remains our biggest trading market, so the spectre of regulatory divergence after Brexit is a clear and present danger to our biggest native industry on this island,” Mulvihill said.
According to a survey conducted by NSAI last month, almost two-thirds of Irish organisations believe that a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic would negatively impact their business.
With just under a month to go until Brexit negotiations are predicted to officially start, Irish businesses are split as to whether the UK’s exit from the European Union will affect how they operate.
Just over half of the 385 organisations surveyed believe that Brexit as a whole will negatively impact their organisation. A further 19pc said it wouldn’t, while 26pc said they don’t know.
Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42