FTA Ireland (FTAI) has welcomed the UK government’s announcement regarding the extension of trade easements for imports into Great Britain from the EU but has called for urgent action from the Irish government to do more to protect Irish businesses’ interests in the longer term. General Manager of FTAI, the organisation which represents the interests of the nation’s logistics sector, Aidan Flynn, commented: “The Irish government and EU Commission must follow the UK government swiftly in recognising the scale and significance of the challenges businesses have faced in adjusting to the new Brexit trading requirements, while also dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ireland has, in the view of FTAI, been disproportionately impacted through its geographic location and this means the country’s trade has been hindered, predominantly imports from Britain which have been significantly reduced. The implications, particularly for small to medium sized businesses, must be recognised and trade easements must be reciprocated for imports into Ireland if the country’s economy is to be protected.
“FTAI’s members are particularly keen for government to address the challenges surrounding the duplication of information required by the Health Service Executive (HSE) when moving goods across the border. Despite the information – Movement Reference Numbers (MRN’s), commercial invoices and details of the load – submitted through the Automated Import System (AIS), the same detail has to be submitted to HSE separately, which significantly reduces operational efficiency and places additional time and financial pressures on the hauliers and customs agents. FTAI is also calling for a suspension of Safety and Security declaration requirements and for integrated IT systems to be developed in such a way that all state agencies can access the relevant information swiftly and efficiently.”