Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Pre-Budget Scrutiny: Minister for Finance

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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I thank the Deputy. On his point about the CO2 testing regime and the consequences for the motor industry in Ireland, I met the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, SIMI, the representative body for car dealerships in Ireland, and we had a lengthy discussion on its concerns about the impact of introducing tax payments based on the real-time emissions of cars. We also had a lengthy discussion on the impact of car imports on the sale of new cars in Ireland. The mix has consequences for tax collection. I saw some comments by SIMI today on the issue. All I should say at this point is that I am certainly aware of the issues it has raised and that we will give them consideration. Last year we introduced a new diesel surcharge to better reflect the environmental consequences of some diesel vehicles. In the coming weeks I will have a look at whether further changes are needed. I am aware of some of what is happening in the car industry and some of the changes in the numbers of new cars being sold and the composition of all car sales in the country.

On where we are with EORI registration, this was an issue that received some attention earlier in the year. As the Deputy is aware, all businesses will need an economic operators' registration and identification number to trade with the United Kingdom if and when it becomes a third country.

Some 5,000 businesses registered in August alone and that was an increase of 600% on the July figure. There has been a significant increase in the number of registrations that have taken place. A total of 88% of the import trade with the UK in 2018 was carried out by businesses which now have an EORI number. The comparable number for export trade is 95%. There has been a significant shift in the registration of traders to get their customs numbers in place.

That said, my concern is there is a large cohort of smaller companies whose share of trade with the UK is small or the share of whose imports from the UK is small as a percentage of total trade. There are, however, many of these companies, all of which employ people and create income and jobs in their communities. While we have made progress on customs preparedness across the summer, more needs to be done in the coming weeks.

Finally, on the point about looking at the mandate of IFAC, that is something to which I will give consideration.