Third-quarter survey finds 93% of business leaders in Ireland favour a Joe Biden victory for better trade relations with US, and also reveals increased optimism for EU-UK trade deal, but Brexit and COVID-19 impacts on Irish economy a key concern.
An overwhelming majority (93%) of business leaders in Ireland believes the Democratic party candidate in the US Presidential election, former Vice-President Joe Biden, will be better for Ireland/EU-US trade than the incumbent President Donald Trump. This is according to the selected advance findings from the latest quarterly Director Sentiment Monitor survey by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Ireland for the third quarter (Q3) of 2020.
The survey has also found that 54% of business leaders in Ireland believe that the EU and the UK can still reach a trade deal before the end of the transition period in December 2020, which compares with just 13% who felt the same way in Q1 of this year. This increased optimism is also affirmed by the 33% who believe the parties won’t reach a trade deal before year’s end, which is a significant drop from 74% in Q1 2020.
However, the optimism for an EU-UK trade deal is offset somewhat by the prevailing pessimism regarding the short- and long-term impacts of Brexit on the Irish economy, with 91% of business leaders believing that Brexit’s impact on the Irish economy will be negative in the short-term and 56% of business leaders believing that Brexit’s impact on the Irish economy will be negative in the long- term. However, 84% of business leaders did note that they were very well or sufficiently prepared for Brexit.
Maura Quinn, Chief Executive of the Institute of Directors in Ireland, commented:
“The next two months are going to be critically important for Ireland in terms of international trade, as well as multilateral and bilateral relations. The US election, the EU-UK trade negotiations and our direct relationships with the UK and, indeed, with the European Union, will all come into sharp focus and will have significant ramifications for businesses and corporations operating in Ireland. Even without the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, these would be uncertain times. Business leaders are very concerned about the impact of the individual and cumulative effects of this ‘triple jeopardy’ on their businesses, and the wider economy."
The full findings from the Director Sentiment Monitor for Q3 2020 will be published in late November. The advanced key findings, are as follows:
US Election: When asked, ‘In respect of the upcoming US Presidential election, who do you believe would be better for future Ireland/EU-US business/trade relations?’, the respondents chose as follows:
- Incumbent President Donald Trump: 7%
- Presidential Candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden: 93%
UK-EU Trade Deal: When asked, ‘Do you think that the EU and the UK can still reach a trade deal before the end of the transition period in December 2020?’, the business leaders replied as follows:
- Yes: 54% (which compares with 21% in Q2 2020 and 13% in Q1 2020).
- No: 33% (a significant drop from 64% in Q2 2020 and from 74% in Q1 2020)
- Don't know: 12% (15% in Q2 2020 and 13% in Q1 2020)
Brexit and the Irish Economy: When asked, ‘What do you think is the likely impact of Brexit on the Irish economy?’, the respondents selected the following options:
- Short term – Negative: 91% (the same as 91% in Q2 2020 and an increase from 87% in Q1 2020 but a small decrease from 96% in the same quarter last year, Q3 2019)
- Short term – Positive: 4% (similar to 3% in Q2 2020 and the same as 4% in Q1 2020 but up from just 1% in Q3 2019)
- Short term - Don't know: 5% (the same as 5% in Q2 2020 but a decrease from 9% in Q1 2020 and up from 3% in Q3 2019)
- Long term – Negative: 56% (close to the 59% in Q2 2020 but an increase from 49% in Q1 2020 and a small increase from 55% in Q3 2019)
- Long term – Positive: 27% (which compares to 24% in Q2 2020 and 27% in Q1 2020 and up from 21% in Q3 2019)
- Long term - Don't know: 17% (the same as 17% in Q2 2020, but down from 25% in Q1 2020 and 24% in Q3 2019)
Brexit Preparation: When asked, ‘How prepared is your organisation for a no-deal Brexit?’, the respondents selected the following options:
- Very well prepared: 13%
- Sufficiently prepared: 71%
- Under-prepared: 9%
- Not at all prepared: 2%
- Other: 5%
- (When this question was last asked, in Q2 2019, the comparable figures were as follows - Very well prepared: 9%; Sufficiently prepared: 67%; Under-prepared: 17%; Not at all prepared: 2%; Other: 6%.)
COVID-19 and 2020: When asked, ‘How would you rate the potential impact of COVID-19 on your primary organisation's bottom line for the year 2020?’, the business leaders chose as follows:
- Significant: 53% (this compares to 61% in Q2 2020 and 83% in Q1 2020)
- Marginal: 37% (this figure was 27% in Q2 2020 and just 9% in Q1 2020)
- No impact: 8% (similar to 7% in Q2 2020 but just 2% in Q1 2020)
- Unknown: 3% (this was 5% in Q2 2020 and 6% in Q1 2020)
- The findings in this research have been rounded up or down to the nearest decimal point.