The latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures released on goods exports and imports in January 2021 show the “immediate impact” of Brexit on trade, according to Fianna Fáil.
Fianna Fáil senator and spokesperson on foreign and EU affairs Lisa Chambers said that the drop in exports and imports to and from Britain “is significant and higher than many expected”.
The new trading environment
“This shows the immediate impact of Brexit on trade with a number of factors contributing to these figures,” the senator said.
We know there would have been some stockpiling in the run up to Christmas and also businesses increasing imports and exports before the new customs regulations kicked in.
“What we have to do now is monitor these figures as we progress through the remainder of the year to get a clearer picture of the true impact of Brexit on trade with Britain; but it is expected this fall in trade will persist to a degree as businesses adjust to the new trading environment.”
Combination of factors contributed
Imports of goods from Great Britain totalled €497 million, which is a fall of 65% when compared with January 2020.
Exports to Great Britain fell by 14% to €946 million in January. At a global level, total goods exports decreased by 12%, and total imports fell by 20%.
Commenting on the data, Orla McCarthy, CSO senior statistician, said:
“Traders reported that a combination of factors contributed to the large reduction in imports from Great Britain in January 2021. These included the challenges of complying with customs requirements.
“Other factors identified by traders were stockpiling of goods in Q4 2020 in preparation for Brexit; substitution with goods from other countries; and a reduction in trade volumes due to the impact of Covid-19 related restrictions throughout January.”
Imports fell by €1.4 billion in January
Total imports of food and live animals decreased by €225 million (-35%) to €421 million in January 2021. Exports of food and live animals decreased by €140 million (-16%) to €736 million.
The EU accounted for €4,439 million (34%) of total exports in January 2021, of which €1,263 million went to Belgium and €1,015 million went to Germany.
Exports to EU countries in January 2021 decreased by €1,344 million (-23%) compared with January 2020. As the UK had exited the EU on January 31, 2020, this data compares EU trade excluding the UK for both periods for comparative purposes.
The USA was the main non-EU destination accounting for €4,901 million (37%) of total exports in January 2021.
The USA with €722 million (13%), Switzerland with €663 million (12%) and China with €448 million (8%), were the main non-EU sources of imports.