Chain Reaction: Pat McCormick

PatMcCormick

Pat McCormick is incoming president of the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce and head of department at the Department of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering at the Dundalk Institute of Technology in County Louth. We spoke to Pat recently and asked him for his views on upcoming impacts for business:


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Originally from Dundalk, he grew up in a local retail business, and studied engineering at university. Following this, he worked in construction and project management, in small and large enterprises, local authorities, private practice and, most recently, in education and training. To this day, he continues to be closely involved with industry and professionals in the manufacturing, construction and exporting businesses, having worked in the sector now for over 25 years.

What is the biggest challenge to exporters in 2018?

“Uncertainty from the impacts of Brexit – particularly on a local level to supply chains and the effect this will have on access. Also, the continued lack of clarity on the processes which will be in place, the costs involved, any time delay implications, as well as inevitable impacts on travel and access to Europe. Additionally, there may be challenges to providing certification of origin with regard to materials and goods. Of course, GDPR [the General Data Protection Regulation, coming into force on 25 May] and customer, supplier and other information tracking may present their own challenges also.”

What is the most exciting development for exporters going forward?

“Strangely enough, it could be Brexit. With the relocation of companies, the need for identifiable compliance and scope for registered operators, the identification of targeted areas for expansion in the 2040 development plan, as well as having the capacity to focus on these areas, it may actually prove to be the most exciting development for exporters.”

Why do you think it is important for exporters and those who service exporters to collaborate on a series like the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) Supply Chain Series?

“It shows there is a unified voice. With shared experiences of operations and difficulties, there is the capacity and real scope to offer relevant and credible feedback when policies, regulation or legislation are being developed or introduced.”

What are the top three tips you would give to anyone looking to export from Ireland?

“Research your market clearly for competition or possible intellectual property issues such as copyright etc; use the supports and resources available at your disposal, ie Enterprise Ireland (EI) and knowledge from others. Finally, look at ‘getting your ducks in a row’, ie certification of origin, customs clearance if necessary, payment processes and any tax clearances, from the outset.”

“With the relocation of companies, the need for identifiable compliance and scope for registered operators, Brexit may actually prove to be the most exciting development for exporters”

In your opinion, is Brexit an opportunity or a threat – and why?

“It is a significant threat to those exporting to or through the UK as there is no clarity or indication yet of what the new regime may mean. At least with detail, one can plan for the future, whether borders are hard or soft. The current situation means that businesses must try to plan for both eventualities without actually being able to put structures in place for either, as the costs would be excessive.

“The lack of capacity within UK and Irish systems to deal with the volume of trade and regulation means difficulties for employers who have EU and non-EU staff crossing borders. The requirements to certify the origin of materials, goods and services to avoid tariffs and taxes are also unknown, so this is an unclear, potential obstacle to progress.

However, there are possible opportunities from the desire of businesses trading in the UK at present to maintain access to both EU and EU trade partners. There is the prospect of new partnerships, alliances or business relationships being established as they position themselves in the Irish or UK business spheres.”

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Friday, 16 November 2018
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