UK-EU trade lower since start of 2021 than it would have been had Brexit not happened, report finds

Wed 19 Oct 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

EU-UK trade relations - Brexit lowers trade ESRI think tank says

Trade between the UK and the EU has declined since Brexit according to a new report by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

Using UK and EU data sources, the Dublin-based think tank estimates that UK to EU trade has declined by 16% and EU to UK trade has fallen by 20% since 1 January 2021.

The report used trade growth rates recorded by other EU partners with markets around the world since the start of 2021 to estimate what UK trade with the bloc may have looked like had Brexit had not occurred, reports the Independent.

New post-Brexit trading arrangements came into operation at the start of 2021 after the end of the transition period following the UK’s departure from the bloc.

Trade down

Trade between the EU and UK has recovered to most of its pre-2021 level in value terms since then, but it remains significantly below what it might have been if it followed the growth rate of other trade partners, according to Bloomberg.

The authors of the report, Janez Kren and Martina Lawless, said: “Across EU member states, we find that Brexit has led to a significant decline in trade with the UK in almost all cases although by varying magnitudes.”

Irish exports

RTE reports that Irish exports to the UK fell from 14% of total Irish exports in 2015, before declining to 10% in 2019 and rising back slightly to 11% in 2021.

The paper suggests the absence of any significant change in exports from Ireland to the UK may be accounted for by increased trade with Northern Ireland.

NI Protocol Bill

At prime minister’s questions today (19 October), PM Liz Truss said she was “completely committed to the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill,” in a response to a question from Conservative MP David Jones on whether she would accept any amendments to the legislation from the House of Lords.

She added: “It deals with very specific issues we face in Northern Ireland, including the free flow of trade.”

The bill passed the House of Commons without any amendments, with then-PM Boris Johnson promising to pass it by the end of 2022.

At the time of its introduction, the EU launched legal action against the UK, amid fears that a trade war will also occur if the legislation came into force.

Irish Tánaiste and trade minister Leo Varadkar is holding meetings with deputy prime minister Thérèse Coffey and foreign secretary James Cleverly today (19 October), after attending an Enterprise Ireland event last night, Politico reports.

UK exports by Enterprise Ireland clients grew 15% to a record €8.4 billion in 2021, and the UK now accounts for 31% of total exports, reports Business Plus.