Business

Businesses are ‘sleepwalking' through Brexit negotiations - warning

Peter Legge, tax partner at Grant Thornton, and Aisling Byrne, associate solicitor at Cleaver Fulton Rankin, prepare for the breakfast seminar on March 1 entitled ‘Brexit: The Final Countdown Begins’

HUNDREDS of businesses engaged in cross-border trade are ‘sleepwalking' their way through Brexit negotiations, leading experts have cautioned.

The warning comes ahead of a breakfast seminar being hosted by business advisory firm Grant Thornton and Northern Ireland law firm of the year Cleaver Fulton Rankin on March 1 which will examine the key tax and legal considerations companies must make in preparation for Brexit.

Entitled ‘Brexit: The Final Countdown Begins', the seminar at Grant Thornton's new Donegall Square West office in Belfast will address a recent InterTradeIreland report which revealed that 91 per cent of businesses with cross-border sales had not made plans to deal with Brexit.

It also follows media reports last week that a government paper on the economic impact of Brexit is predicting that Northern Ireland will sustain one of the biggest hits to economic growth after withdrawal from the 28-country bloc.

Peter Legge, tax partner at Grant Thornton NI, and Michael Black, director and head of employment at Cleaver Fulton Rankin, will speak at the event.

Mr Legge said: “We're now entering a critical phase of the build-up to Brexit, but many businesses appear to be sleepwalking their way through the negotiations.

“With just over 13 months to go until the UK leaves the EU, reports have revealed that only 9 per cent of businesses with cross-border sales have made plans to deal with Brexit.

“This needs to be urgently addressed, and our breakfast seminar will help to do that. Businesses across Northern Ireland must seek expert advice in order to get strategic plans in place to prepare for all eventualities - before it's too late.

“Last week's reports about the severe impact Brexit could have on Northern Ireland have brought the issue into even sharper focus than before. There are a lot questions to consider and we will examine these in detail, and provide fresh analysis on the crucial next steps that businesses must take.”

Also speaking at the event will be Mark Sterritt from InterTradeIreland and Conor Lambe from Danske Bank. For more information, or to book a space at the breakfast event, contact natasha.agnew@ie.gt.com

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