An international trade expert has expressed concern about the level of preparedness among companies here for Brexit, with just under 60 days to go to Britain's expected departure from the EU.

Carol Lynch, partner in Customs and International trade with the accountancy group BDO, said still only about half of companies that import and export have signed up for the basic trading requirement.

"When we are looking at client reviews in terms of planning, the first question - particularly for vendors and suppliers - is have you got an EORI number.

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"If you haven't, that's a very good indication that you haven't given any thoughy to future planning, deferred planning, tariffs, haulier preparations. The EORI is the very basic requirement," she stated.

Much of the spotlight has fallen on the potential effects of Brexit on the exporting sector, but Carol Lynch pointed out that imports also stand to be adversely affected by any trade barriers.

"Imports are especially important for consumers and manufacturers. Goods purchased from the UK and 80% of goods coming from Europe and outside of Europe come through the UK. It's critical and we'd be working with hauliers in making sure drivers are prepared and the right paper work has been handed in.

"Whatever chance you have of not being delayed is based on your preparations, that you know how to complete import declaration, that it's cleared and that you have that clearance slip in the cab so the driver knows what to do when they drive off the boat.

"There are a number of steps to ensure you can minimise the risk of delays which are, to a certain extent, inevitable," Ms Lynch said.

The comments come as France announced plans to trial an electronic customs system for a month leading up to Brexit.

In effect, they will be acting as if Brexit has already happened.

A survey of businesses by BDO published this morning pointed to optimism among firms at its lowest in five years.

Two thirds of Irish firms surveyed said they now expect Brexit to impact on their business.  That number has doubled in the last three years.