UK Trade Shrinks After Brexit

March 17, 2021
The transition to full Brexit had a jarring effect on British exports, especially food & beverage exports, statistics for January show.

The transition to full Brexit had a jarring effect on British exports, especially food & beverage exports, statistics for January show.

The United Kingdom and the European Union reached a trade accord just before the end of 2020. It provides for tariff-free movement of most goods, including most consumable goods, but adds a layer of bureaucracy that was not present when the UK was in the EU.

During January, the first full month of the post-Brexit era, UK exports to the EU dropped by 41% compared with December, and almost as much compared with January 2020. Britain’s fisheries industry has been especially hard hit, with some fishermen forced to dump loads that had gone bad while waiting for the shipments to clear customs.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson dismisses the difficulties as “teething problems,” but others aren’t so sure.

"While the plunges in exports and imports weren't entirely due to Brexit, they increase the chances that Brexit will have a longer lasting influence on trade flows," a British economist told CNN.

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