LONDON (Dispatches) - Food and drink exports from the United Kingdom to the European Union nearly halved during the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2020, mostly due to changes in post-Brexit trading relationships but also as the pandemic weighed.
Figures published on Friday by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) revealed a 47 percent downturn in such sales to the bloc in the first quarter of 2021, which followed the UK’s exit from its single market and customs union at the end of last year.
Food and drink exports to the EU over the three-month period leading up to the end of March were valued at 1.7bn pounds ($2.3bn), compared with last year’s 3.1bn pounds ($4.3bn).
The decline was even greater when measured over a two-year period, with food and drink exports down 55 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2019, when 3.7bn pounds ($5.1bn) worth of such products were sold to the bloc.
“The loss of two billion pounds 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,” said the federation’s head of international trade Dominic Goudie.
The FDF figures are based on government data.