Brexit and pandemic combine for a big blow to Irish trade with Britain
Brexit and the pandemic have damaged the Republic’s trade relations with Britain, with the latest trade figures showing a significant drop in exports and imports.
According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the value of imports of goods from Britain fell 57% or 1.6 billion euros in the first two months of 2021 compared to the same period the last year.
The largest declines were recorded in imports of food and live animals, mineral fuels, machinery and transport equipment.
At the same time, the value of Irish exports to Britain fell 12 percent to 250 million euros due to a drop in exports of food and live animals.
The reduction in trade is attributed to a combination of factors, including difficulties in complying with customs requirements.
Storage of goods in the last quarter of 2020 in preparation for Brexit, substitution by goods from other countries and reduced trade volumes due to Covid-19 were also cited as factors.
Overall figures for February point to another good month for exports, which edged up to € 13.1 billion on the strength of pharmaceutical exports.
Exports of medical and pharmaceutical products in February were valued at 4.5 million euros, up 35 percent from the same month last year.
The pharmaceutical sector of the Republic has benefited from a strong recovery in demand linked to the pandemic.
The value of imports of goods fell slightly to € 6.9 billion, resulting in a seasonally adjusted trade surplus of € 6.2 billion.
The EU accounted for 4.6 billion euros (38 percent) of total exports in February, of which 1.4 billion to Germany and 1 billion to Belgium. Figures show that exports to EU countries in February fell 1 percent from February last year.
The United States was the main non-EU destination, with 4.3 billion euros (35 percent) of exports in February.