Food and drink exports from the UK to the EU have fallen by almost half in Q1 2021 compared to the same period last year.
Trade groups have said the figure shows the impact of post-Brexit trade barriers, with the value of exported produce dropping 46.6% to £1.7bn according to data from the Food and Drink Federation.
Head of international trade at the FDF, Dominic Goudie, said of the latest data that: “The loss of £2bn of exports to the EU is a disaster for our industry, and is a very clear indication of the scale of losses that UK manufacturers face in the longer term due to new trade barriers with the EU.”
The main reasons given for the drop in trade are struggles with costs, paperwork and post-Brexit shipping checks.
And global trade has struggled to offset the early year losses with exports to non-EU countries rising by just 0.3%, albeit they now exceed EU exports.
Dairy products, including milk and cream, were most affected, whilst whisky, chocolate, lamb, cereals and sauces also saw significant falls.
A government spokesperson said that: “The impact of the Covid pandemic across Europe has affected trade and depressed demand and it is too early to draw any firm conclusions on the long-term impacts of our new trading relationship with the EU.
“We continue to help businesses get the support they need to trade effectively with Europe and to seize new opportunities as we strike trade deals with the world’s fastest-growing markets.”
Adapting to the new trading environment
If your business has been negatively affected by Brexit, including seeing an increase in shipping costs to issues surround paperwork and customs checks, we can help.
Learn more about our post-Brexit consultancy services here.