Export and import activity between the UK and France has dropped some 20% since the start of the year as businesses on both sides of The Channel continue to struggle against Brexit disruption.
According to the French customs office, exports from France into the UK fell 13% in January compared to the previous six-month average, whilst exports from the UK into France dropped 20%.
Whilst some pandemic-related ground has been recovered, especially as firms on both sides stockpiled critical components and goods, Brexit uncertainty and new friction-creating barriers has hampered that volume recovery. Meanwhile, French exports and imports with other nations increased.
And despite the trade deal, higher shipping costs, health certificate requirements, complex customs requirements and transportation delays have all contributed to increased commercial costs and reduced activity.
Activity isn’t only down between the UK and France either. A more marked 30% downturn can be seen in German exports to the UK – a continued decline that began after the Brexit referendum in 2016. The steepest declines have been in Italy, with a 38% fall in exports to the UK and a 70% drop in imports.
Read more: Half of UK exporters struggling to adapt to Brexit changes
Gullies Moec, chief economist at Axa commented that: “I have a hard time deciding what is the impact of Brexit and what is simply down to the impact of coronavirus.
“There were so many stories about companies that had trouble exporting or importing after Brexit and a lot of hauliers were reluctant to deal with the customs issues, so there must have been an impact.”
If your business has been impacted, we can help
Go Exporting has already helped a number of companies both prepare for Brexit, and now workaround new restrictions, regulations and challenges.
Our Brexit FastTrack service offers a detailed review of businesses post-Brexit to help resolve the issues they’re encountering – with a quick turnaround and at a fixed price.
Some firms may also be able to reclaim the cost of this service via the SME Brexit Support Fund.