UK’s Food and Drink Exports to the EU Nearly Halved in the First Quarter

According to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), EU sales have decreased by 47%.

The reduction was mostly due to changes in the UK’s economic partnerships, although the pandemic was also a factor, according to the trade organization. The administration stated that it is “too early to draw any solid conclusions” about Brexit’s long-term consequences. The pandemic had also lowered demand, according to the report.

According to the most recent ONS trade statistics, overall exports to the EU exceeded the average levels for 2020 in both March and April.

The introduction of new trade barriers was not the only factor influencing cross-channel trade. According to the FDF, the Covid-19 epidemic was responsible for a drop of 10-15%. Companies stockpiling ahead of Brexit-related changes also impacted the quarter’s results. According to the FDF, the combination of these variables resulted in large drops in the value of leading exports.

Exports of cheese were down 72 percent in the first quarter of 2019, before Covid became an issue; fish sales were down 52 percent, and chocolate sales were down 37 percent.

When compared to the same period last year, food and beverage exports to nearly all EU countries fell sharply in the first quarter.

Trade with Ireland, which is generally the sector’s largest overseas market, took the brunt of the blow. It had dropped by more than 70%. However, sales to Germany, Spain, and Italy were also cut in half.

For decades, the United Kingdom has sold the European Union more food and drink than the rest of the world combined.

However, because of the decline in shipping to Europe, this is no longer the case. Non-EU exports accounted for 55% of overall exports in the first quarter. According to the FDF, this is the first time something like this has happened in at least 20 years. Overall, sales to non-EU nations increased by 0.3 percent, with shipments to China increasing significantly.

Sales to the region recovered to £200 million, substantially above their pre-pandemic average of £163 million, after falling in the first quarter of last year owing to Covid-related lockdowns.

The so-called ‘implementation period,’ which had been in effect since Britain’s exit from the EU, ended on December 31. For the first time, trade across the Channel was subject to new post-Brexit legislation and customs hurdles.

According to the FDF, this has had an especially negative impact on the trade of animal products and other perishable items, as it has caused large delays while formalities are performed.

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