Manufacturers here are being encouraged by Invest Northern Ireland to cut the costs of import duties by taking advantage of an EU scheme promoted by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in London.
Local companies that are unable to source the materials they need to manufacture their products from within the EU could also be eligible to import those materials duty-free by applying to the EU Duty Suspensions and Tariff Quotas Scheme.
Currently UK companies save over EUR30 million per year through the scheme - a figure that rose by EUR4.6 million in the first half of 2010. But this could rise even higher if more manufacturers were aware of the scheme and how easy it is to apply.
Invest Northern Ireland is urging local manufacturing companies to take the opportunity to find out more ahead of the 15 March deadline for the first round of this year's applications.
Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, said: “This is an important UK scheme that can help businesses save much-needed cash during these very challenging times. Accessible through BIS, the scheme offers manufacturers the opportunity to grow and expand their company.
“The scheme also makes a real contribution to enhancing the competitiveness of manufacturers. We want more local companies to benefit by getting in touch with BIS.
“Feedback from UK businesses shows the scheme is highly-valued and easy to use.”
Companies in Britain using the scheme found the process straightforward and benefited from assistance and advice provided by BIS.