According to industry data, sales have fallen due to changes after Brexit and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Compared with the same period in 2020, the UK’s food and beverage exports to the EU have almost halved in the first three months of this year, mainly due to changes in trade relations after Brexit and the impact of the pandemic.
Data released by the Food and Beverage Federation (FDF) on Friday showed that such sales to the European Union fell by 47% in the first quarter of 2021 after the United Kingdom withdrew from the single market and customs union at the end of last year.
During the three months to the end of March, food and beverage exports to the EU were worth 1.7 billion pounds (2.3 billion US dollars), compared with 3.1 billion pounds (4.3 billion US dollars) last year.
Measured in two years, the decline was even greater. Compared with the same period in 2019, food and beverage exports fell by 55% in the first quarter of this year, when such products were worth £3.7 billion (US$5.1 billion). Sold to the group.
“The loss of £2 billion in exports to the EU is a disaster for our industry and very clearly shows the scale of long-term losses that British manufacturers are facing due to the new trade barriers with the EU,” said Domi, head of international trade at the Federation Nick Goudi (Dominic Goudi).
FDF data is based on government data.
It also cited the coronavirus pandemic that reached the coast of Europe in early 2020 as a contributing factor.
Exporters of dairy products have been hit hardest.
Milk and cream exports to the EU fell by more than 90%, while cheese exports fell by two-thirds.
John Whitehead, director of the British Food and Beverage Exporters Association, said that part of the economic downturn was due to EU importers hoarding goods from the UK before Brexit.
But he added that “important business” was also lost after the UK left the EU because of “the direct result of additional bureaucracy, customs delays and trade costs with the EU.”
Sales of soft drinks, fish and potatoes fell by 70.5%, 68% and 63%, respectively.
Export rates to several EU member states have also fallen sharply.
From January to March, food and beverage exports to Ireland, a member of the European Union, fell by nearly 71%. Sales to Portugal, Spain and Italy have also been reduced by more than half.
According to the FDF, this shift means that UK exports of food and beverages outside the EU have exceeded exports to the EU for the first time in decades.
Data from the federation shows that total sales to non-EU countries accounted for 55% of all food and beverage exports, compared with less than 40% a year ago.
Although total exports to non-EU countries only increased by 0.3% year-on-year, some markets experienced significant growth.
For example, sales to China increased by 28%, while exports to South Korea increased by 19%.