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Brexit. British food exports to the EU collapse

Drop of 75.5%, with a loss of 750 million pounds

Rude awakening for post-Brexit Brits. HMRC data released by the Food and Drink Federation revealed a significant drop in food and beverage exports to the European Union (EU) and other international markets in the wake of the UK decision to leave the EU. The report compared data from January 2021 to January 2020, which showed that food and drink exports to the EU on an annual basis fell by 75.5% (a drop of nearly £ 0.75 billion) while exports to non-EU countries decreased by 11.1%. According to the figures, the value of all UK food and drink exports stood at £ 1.7 billion in January 2020, and this figure fell by 51.1% to £ 824.9 million in January 2021. 

Dominic Goudie, head of international trade at FDF, said: “It is extremely worrying that our exports to the EU fell by more than 75% in January. Businesses face significant challenges when trading with the EU and small businesses in particular have been excluded because groupage distribution doesn't work. In the absence of solutions, EU exporters will face more or less the same challenges when the UK's full border operating model comes into effect in 2022".

The FDF also stressed that the impact of Covid-19 and storage by British companies before the end of the transition period with the EU also contributed to this collapse. Exports to all EU Member States decreased, notably to Ireland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Austria, Romania, Estonia, Slovenia, Croatia and Luxembourg, all down by more than 80%. Ireland was previously the UK's largest food and drink market in the EU, accounting for around 18% of exports worth £ 299.5 million in January 2020. However, as of January 2021, this value is dropped to £ 45.3 million; around 5% of all food and drink exports to the EU.

All ten major categories of UK food and drink products exported to the EU declined, with salmon exports plunging by 98% and beef by 91.5% compared to the same period in January 2020. The Whiskey is still the UK's leading food and drink export to the EU, but the value of exports dropped 63.1% from £ 105.4m to £ 38.9m. Meanwhile, cheese exports plunged 85.1% from £ 45.5 million to £ 6.8 million year-on-year, while chocolate exports fell from £ 41.4 million to £ 13. 1 million pounds.

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EFA News - European Food Agency