Brexit: Why has UK trade with Germany fallen so dramatically?

Thursday, March 11, 2021
There's been a huge fall in trade between the UK and Germany during the first month of the new trading relationship between the UK and the EU. According to Germany's Federal Statistical Office, imports from the UK in January were down more than 56% compared with the same month in 2020. This is roughly equivalent to 2.1bn euros (£1.8bn) of lost trade. Exports to the UK were also down 29%. The Covid effect? It's not yet clear how much of this is linked directly to the terms of the new EU-UK trade agreement, nor how much of it will turn out to be permanent. Certainly, the slowdown is not simply about post-Brexit trade rules. The coronavirus pandemic has played a role in reducing trade flows. German imports worldwide were down nearly 10% year-on-year in January, and exports down 8%. There is also another issue specific to the UK. A large amount of stockpiling took place in December, as businesses prepared for possible disruption in advance of Britain leaving the single market and the customs union. So, that meant less trade in January.
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