Government needs to actively improve business and trade relations with UK

Government needs to actively improve business and trade relations with UK

Maura Quinn, Chief Executive of the Institute of Directors in Ireland.

A SIGNIFICANT majority (89%) of business leaders believes the government needs to actively improve business and trade relations with the UK Government in the wake of both Brexit and the international vaccination rollout, according to the latest Director Sentiment Monitor survey by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Ireland. 

This finding echoes previous IoD research, conducted in September 2019, before the Brexit agreement was reached, that also found 89% of business leaders were in favour of Ireland actively addressing improving relations with the UK.

The research also reveals that there is a 7% increase, quarter-on-quarter, in the number of business leaders who anticipate opportunities for growth in both the domestic (57%) and UK (23%) markets. Business leaders are split when asked whether the EU-UK ‘trade deal’ struck last December brings clarity to post-Brexit trade relations between Ireland and the UK, with 43% agreeing that it brings clarity, 39% saying it does not, and 19% unsure.

Furthermore, a majority (66%) of business leaders believe the effect of the current Government's performance to date on consumer confidence has been negative, while 47% say the impact of the current Government's performance to date on their business decision-making has had ‘no effect’.

IoD Ireland’s quarterly Director Sentiment Monitor, for Q1 2021, was conducted between March 26  and April 12.

Commenting on the latest research findings, Maura Quinn, Chief Executive, the Institute of Directors in Ireland, said: “While the lasting impact of Brexit and the trade deal is still too soon to assess, business leaders are clear on the need for the Irish Government to actively improve business and trade relations with the UK. 

"This feeling has remained constant even before the trade agreement, going back to our research on this in September 2019. Business leaders still feel there is scope for improving relations. This is especially important in a context where there is an increase in the number of business leaders who anticipate opportunities for growth in the UK.” 

On the finding in relation to the Government’s impact on consumer confidence, Maura Quinn commented: “In a context where the number of business leaders who anticipate opportunities for growth in the domestic market has increased quarter-on-quarter, the expected and hoped-for gradual easing of the restrictions over the coming months should have a positive impact on consumer confidence.” 

Among the key findings of the IoD’s Director Sentiment Monitor survey for Q1 2021, published today, are:

Post-Brexit/Vaccine Relations with the UK: When asked the question, ‘Post-Brexit and the international vaccine rollout, do you think the Irish Government needs to actively improve business and trade relations with the UK Government?’ the business leaders answered as follows:

Yes: 89% No: 4% Not sure: 6% Brexit Trade Deal Clarity: When asked the question, ‘In respect of your primary organisation, do you agree that the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement has brought much-needed clarity to post-Brexit trade relations between Ireland and the UK?’ the business leaders answered as follows: the business leaders answered as follows:

Strongly agree: 4% Moderately agree: 39% Strongly disagree: 15% Moderately disagree: 24% Not sure: 19% Trade Markets: Opportunities: When asked the question, ‘In respect of your primary organisation, in which markets do you anticipate opportunities for growth during the second quarter of 2021?’ the business leaders answered as follows:

Domestic: 57% UK: 23% EU: 27% USA: 17% Not expecting any growth: 10% Other options selected, included: Other emerging markets (6%); China (5%); Middle East (5%); Canada (4%); South America (3%); Japan (2%); Switzerland (2%); Not applicable (9%).

Government Effect on Consumer Confidence, and Business Decision-Making: When asked the question, ‘What do you believe has been the effect of the current Government's performance to date on the following:’ the business leaders answered as follows:

Consumer Confidence Positive: 17% Negative: 66% No effect: 17% Your Business Decision-Making Positive: 17% Negative: 37% No effect: 47% Financial Performance 2021: When asked the question, ‘Do you think that the financial performance of your primary organisation will improve for the year 2021?’ the business leaders answered as follows:

Yes: 55% No: 31% Don't know: 14%

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