Brexit batters UK exports which fall 14% while world sees 8.2% rise

#Brexit special section Beyond England Policy & Politics

Brexit is being blamed for a massive hit to UK goods exports with the country failing to rebound from the pandemic as compared to other advanced economies.

While the global average saw an 8.2% rise in exports in the three months to January (compared to the same period in 2020) UK exports actually fell a massive 14%.

It is part of a long term trend according to the world trade monitor published yesterday (March 25) by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) that shows the UK is the only advanced country where goods exports remain below the 2010 average.

UK exports remain below pre-pandemic levels

Professor of economics at King’s College London, Jonathan Portes said: “While most other advanced economies have seen a strong recovery in trade, UK exports remain below pre-pandemic levels.”

Figures released The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predict UK productivity will fall a further 4% over the next 15 years as the economy becomes even less-trade intensive.

The OBR said this week that UK is “lagging behind” and had “missed out on much of the recovery in global trade… suggesting that Brexit may have been a factor” in the fall of UK exports.

Brexit will see UK exports and imports fall 15%

None of the post-Brexit trade deals “or other regulatory changes announced so far would be sufficient” to have an impact on forecasts for UK trade, according to the OBR. Estimates suggest Brexit will lead to a 15% fall in UK imports and exports, as compared to if the country had remained a member of the EU.

“Exports growth looks set to remain sluggish,” said Gabriella Dickens, economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, as UK exporters continued “to be slowly cut out of global supply chains, due to the extra administrative burden for EU firms of sourcing goods from Britain”

Earlier this month the House of Commons public accounts committee expressed its doubt that the government will hit its target to cover 80% of all UK trade with a free trade deal by the end of 2022. Post-Brexit deals for UK exports and imports so far cover just 64% of UK trade.

The long awaited free trade deal with the US – accounting for 16.8% of UK trade – looks as far of as ever with Washington reiterating their warning to Boris Johnson’s government that the US “will not entertain” any deal that risks the Northern Ireland peace process and Good Friday Agreement.

Canada puts hormone-pumped beef on menu for UK trade deal talks

Meanwhile, Canada has confirmed it wants “access to the British market” for its hormone-treated beef at the start of post-Brexit negotiations with the UK over a trade deal.

Mary Ng, Canada’s trade minister told a press conference: “I am here to sell brand Canada, boy-oh-boy, and I’m going to keep doing that.”

Ng added: “what I would say to all markets across the world, including the United States, is that the high quality of our beef and of our products and of our producers is second to none.”

At the same briefing, the UK’s international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan did not respond to Ng’s comments about hormone beef and said the UK and Canada are “working at pace to get a transformational trade deal”. The aim is reach an agreement within two years, said Trevelyan.

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