Evidence of Brexit’s negative impact on the UK’s trade with the European Union is beginning to emerge as EU data shows exports to the bloc fell by nearly 14% in 2021 compared to 2020, said one high official in Brussels.
European Commission Vice-President and Brexit negotiator Maroš Šefčovič said that even taking into account the impact of the pandemic, the increase in bureaucracy since the transition period ended in January 2021 has taken its toll on trade in goods and services. services with the UK.
“One consequence of Brexit was the return of a customs border between the EU and Great Britain. This means paperwork for virtually every product shipped between our markets. It means that thousands of goods are checked every day.
“Brexit has increased bureaucracy, not reduced it. It is no longer as frictionless and dynamic as before. This applies to both goods and services,” he said.
The UK’s decision to opt for a hard Brexit with its exit from the single market resulted in the loss of four freedoms to trade: in labour, capital, goods and services.
According to Eurostat figures, imports to the EU from the UK have fallen from €169 billion (£144 billion) in 2020 to €146 billion in 2021 – a decrease of 13.6%.
When comparing 2021 with 2019, the decrease is 25%.
Eurostat figures show that services, also impacted by Brexit, fell by 7% in 2021 compared to 2019. This category includes everything from financial services to professional services such as architecture, marketing and accounting.
Šefčovič’s comments come just days after former Brexit minister Lord Frost said anyone who says the bloc’s exit had hit the economy and trade had an “ax to sharpen”.
He told a conference that data used by the Office for Budget Responsibility predicting Britain’s gross domestic product would be 4% lower than if it had stayed in the EU, “zombie numbers” were based on studies by post-communist countries.
Since the end of the transition period in January 2021, all goods exported to the EU must be accompanied by a plethora of paperwork demonstrating compliance with EU standards, as Britain is treated as a “third country” like Trying to sell in India, Australia or the US in the internal market.
Northern Ireland is exempt from the paperwork requirements due to the protocol’s special arrangements that allow it to continue trading with the EU as if it remained a Member State.