Brexit adds to strains on trade from pandemic
German exports to UK in decline since 2016 Brexit vote
Many businesses on continent reorganise provide chains (Adds December figures, economist)
By Paul Carrel and Rene Wagner
BERLIN, March 2 (Reuters) – German exports to the United Kingdom fell by 30% on the year in January as the impact of Brexit became Europe’s largest economy away from the UK, exacerbating the hit to business from the coronavirus pandemic, official figures showed on Tuesday.
The UK left the European Union’s single market at the finish of last year, raising barriers to trade. That final nick up adopted more than four years of wrangling over its terms of exit from the EU, during which German businesses had already begun to nick their interactions with Britain.
“Since 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – German exports to the UK have steadily declined,” Germany’s Federal Statistics Place of business said in a comment on the preliminary figures. It did no longer give a sector-by-sector breakdown.
The Place of business attributed the January straggle to “the outcomes of Brexit after the year 2020, which was marked by the Corona pandemic.”
The impact of COVID-19 meant that the UK economy was smaller in January than a year earlier. The International Monetary Fund estimates that the UK and euro zone economies will no longer return to their pre-pandemic ranges except subsequent year.
Ahead of formal departure from the EU on Dec. 31, British businesses rushed to bring items into the country – stockpiling that repeatedly outcomes in a dip in activity later.
The January straggle in bilateral trade compared with a more modest decline in December 2020, when German exports to the UK fell by 3.3% on the year, to 5.0 billion euros, and imports from the UK dropped 11.4% to 2.8 billion euros.
Gabriel Felbermayr, president of the IfW financial institute in Kiel, said the January export straggle was probably an “outlier” as the pandemic slowed trade, and as exporters adjusted to new customs formalities.
“In the prolonged race, we assume that German exports to the UK will likely be 10% beneath the level expected without Brexit,” Felbermayr told Reuters.
The Brexit deal is “far faraway from the principles of the single market” in the EU and will dampen trade, he added, with many companies on the continent having already reorganised provide chains and scaled back business with Britain.
Recent customs rules which took enact in January have increased the cost and complexity of trade between Britain and the EU, especially for smaller companies, and caused delays to freight at the borders.
In 2020 as a entire, German exports to the UK fell by 15.5% compared to 2019, recording the greatest year-on-year decline since the financial and financial disaster in 2009, once they fell by 17.0%, the Place of business said.
In 2015 German exports to the UK amounted to 89.0 billion euros. In 2020, German they totalled 66.9 billion euros.
Imports to Germany from the UK totalled 34.7 billion euros in 2020, down 9.6 % compared to 2019. (Reporting by Paul Carrel Editing by Madeline Chambers and Catherine Evans)