Brexit took place, very precisely on January 1, 2021. Eurostat therefore decided to take stock: what was the impact of the first month of Brexit, therefore January 2021, on trade between the European Union and the United Kingdom? United ? Unsurprisingly, huge. What, perhaps, to reflect those and those who call for Frexit as soon as they have the opportunity.
Trade between the two sides of the Channel plummets
The data published by Eurostat are similar, but slightly different, due to a different calculation, from those of the UK National Statistical Office (ONS). According to European statistics, the EU exported 27.5% less goods and services to the UK in January 2021 compared to January 2020. That’s a lot, more than a quarter, but the fall remains contained.
It is in the opposite direction that it is much more important: henceforth taxed, British goods and services sold to Europeans took a hard hit and fell 59.5% year on year, according to Eurostat. A situation that risks putting the spades in the wheels of the United Kingdom while the recovery is expected in 2020, after the health crisis.
However, as Her Majesty’s country is ahead of Europe in terms of vaccines, the two facts could partly offset each other.
The example of Ireland speaks volumes
On the same day as Eurostat, Ireland released its own figures on falling imports and exports to and from the UK. The two countries are historically closely linked, and even have a land border in Northern Ireland. Their trade relations should therefore be more stable.
However, this will not have been the case: Ireland imported nearly a billion euros of products less in January 2021 compared to the same month of 2020, a fall of 65% according to the Irish Central Statistics Office. Food imports even fell by 75% in the same month, compared to 13% for the European Union as a whole.
Conversely, Ireland’s exports to the UK will have been much less impacted, falling by just 149 million euros (-14%). Note the particularity of the links between Ireland and Northern Ireland: imports and exports were, in January 2021, up year on year, respectively by 10% and 17%.
To learn more about Brexit and the European Union crisis, we recommend the book “The European Union in crisis“, written by Jacques Martineau and Georges Seguin and available here: https://www.clubespace21.fr/spip.php?article1814 (Access the link via Firefox or Safari, a concern related to the fire at OVH prevents access on Chrome)