Since leaving the European Union, and in the context of health restrictions associated with the Kovid-19 epidemic, the United Kingdom’s trade with the European Union has fallen sharply during the month of January. Excluding non-monetary gold and other precious metals, British exports to the European Union fell 40.7% in January from December, according to data released on Friday by the UK National Statistics Office (ONS). Imports fell 28.8%, which is another record.
The ONS said the coronavirus epidemic, which prompted Britain to introduce preventative measures in January, made it difficult to determine the impact of Brexit on the new customs regime. However, the ONS acknowledged, “external data suggest that part of the slowdown in merchandise trade in early January 2021 may be due to disruptions occurring at the end of the transition period.”
Anticipation. Many companies also stored goods in late 2020 in anticipation of Brexit, which also explains the weakness of trade in January. The ONS said the chemicals trade was particularly underperformed, marking the end of congestion for stockpile pharmaceuticals before the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, 2020. The institution also observed that exports of food and live animals to the European Union, including crustaceans and fish, fell by 64%.
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