UK exports to EU recuperate from preliminary post-Brexit stoop

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LONDON (Reuters) – British items exports to the European Union rose to their highest since October 2019 in Might, official information confirmed on Friday, reversing a stoop at the beginning of 2021 when Britain exited the bloc’s single market and customs union.

FILE PHOTO: Containers are stacked on the Port of Felixstowe, Britain, January 28, 2021. Image taken January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra/File Picture

Britain’s authorities is more likely to view the information as backing its expectation that the change in customs preparations would solely trigger non permanent inconvenience to most companies.

Nonetheless, general commerce with the EU has lagged behind development in gross sales to the remainder of the world, and enterprise teams stated they nonetheless confronted further purple tape coping with European prospects and suppliers on account of Brexit.

“While we are seeing a modest pick-up in demand for UK goods in the last month as economies reopen, the overall climate remains fragile,” the top of commerce coverage on the British Chambers of Commerce, William Bain, stated after the information.

Britain’s Workplace for Nationwide Statistics stated items exports to the European Union, excluding treasured metals, rose to 14.Zero billion kilos ($19.four billion) in Might on a seasonally adjusted foundation, their highest since October 2019 and virtually twice January’s degree.

Whole items exports of 27.9 billion kilos, excluding treasured metals, have been the best since January 2020, simply earlier than the coronavirus pandemic started to trigger disruption.

Imports from the EU have additionally risen after a stoop at the beginning of the yr, when COVID-19 disrupted visitors throughout the English Channel, though they continue to be barely beneath imports from the remainder of the world. Earlier than 2021, Britain virtually all the time sourced most of its imports from the EU.

The top of Britain’s greatest port – Dover – instructed Reuters commerce disruption may return if British holidaymakers head for European summer time breaks, including to pressure on stretched customs employees.


Britain formally left the EU on the finish of January 2020, and remained within the EU’s single market and customs union for an extra 11 months whereas it negotiated a commerce settlement.

Teasing out the longer-term impression of Brexit is made tougher by the stoop in exports brought on by COVID-19 final yr, and brinkmanship in Britain’s parliament in 2018 and 2019 that led to periodic fears of potential sudden border checks.

The Financial institution of England stated final yr it anticipated a long-term discount in commerce with the EU. Some smaller companies – particularly these promoting contemporary produce reminiscent of seafood – face massive regulatory hurdles.

Evaluating the primary 5 months of 2021 with the identical interval of 2020 – which incorporates the extreme preliminary impression of COVID – commerce with international locations outdoors the EU grew sooner.

British exports outdoors the EU elevated by 8%, whereas these to the EU rose by 5%. Imports from the EU have been broadly flat whereas imports from additional afield rose by 19%.

“The longer-term picture … shows the severe headwinds of the pandemic, rising raw material and shipping costs, and ongoing Brexit red tape are having on the ability of UK businesses to trade with EU customers,” Bain stated.

The British figures on exports to the EU distinction sharply with current information from Eurostat. This confirmed a 27% fall in EU imports from Britain for the primary 4 months of 2021, due largely to a change in methodology on Jan. 1 to now not depend items shipped from Britain which originated additional afield.

The ONS stated its figures have been extra constant when evaluating exports over time. ($1 = 0.7227 kilos)

Writing by William Schomberg, enhancing by David Milliken and Andrew Heavens

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