The trade figures for the UK for January 2021 have been published showing the first impacts of the UK leaving the EU on both imports and exports.
The drastic fall in trade with the EU follows 2 months, November and December, when there was increased movement of goods – possibly as the result of stockpiling in expectation of problems with trade following departure from the EU.
For the UK as a whole “Falling imports of goods were largely seen in machinery and transport equipment, and chemicals”
For Scotland, which had voted strongly (62%) to Remain in the EU of most concern is the fall in exports of food and live animals to the world’s largest free trading market.
The Scottish Seafood Association says exports to the EU are being hit by “red tape” delays between Scotland and France. The consignment sign off is reportedly taking six times longer, and previously overnight transit of goods to France is reportedly now taking three days. ONS January 2021
A statement was issued by Seafood Scotland the national trade and marketing body for the Scottish Seafood Industry.
The increase in paperwork that is required now to export adds time and therefore costs to products. At the same time as this is happening to Scotland’s exports, the EU is able to flood the internal UK market with their goods.
Fishing is a very small sector in the UK economy but for Scotland with its extensive waters teeming in fish and its shellfish industry vital to so many island and coastal communities, these trade results are disastrous.