I was delighted to be invited by the South Wales Chamber of Commerce and the British Irish Chamber of Commerce to Dublin last week on a trade mission to better understand the opportunities available to UK businesses in cross-border trade. It was a great opportunity to talk to our friends in Ireland about the work that RWA does in the consultancy and e-Learning space, and also a chance to listen to feedback about the similarities in trading environments of the two countries, particularly with Brexit high on the agenda.
The visit gave us the chance to spend the day at The British Irish Chamber of Commerce’s new office to network, share ideas and ask questions before lunch and tour of Parliament at Leinster House. During the tour, we had the opportunity to talk and listen to Pat Breen, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection.
What was clear from the day was that with or without Brexit, there is a large amount of untapped opportunity for businesses within the UK to trade with Ireland and the perceived issues with Brexit and GDPR should not put us off. Ireland imports more from the UK than any other country with two-way trade standing at over EUR 1 billion per week, so it seems sensible to look at the market for business growth opportunities as parties on both sides are working hard to ensure that trade barriers are as small as possible going forward.
For me, a low-cost 40-minute flight out of Cardiff puts it on a par with travelling by air to anywhere else in the UK and RWA is already looking at our own growth plans into the market. If any of our clients are interested in exploring doing business with Ireland, then please do contact the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, which is a good place to start.
Thanks also to Flybe and Cardiff Airport for facilitating the travel on the day.