Irish Imports from Great Britain Fall 65% as Brexit Takes Hold

Irish trade with Great Britain plunged in January, as companies grappled with the U.K.’s exit from the European Union.

Goods imports to Ireland from Great Britain slumped 65% compared with a year ago, the Irish statistics office said Thursday. Exports to Britain fell 14%.

The drop in imports was due in part to challenges complying with customs requirements, Orla McCarthy, senior statistician at the agency, said.

“Other factors identified by traders were stockpiling of goods in preparation for Brexit, substitution with goods from other countries, and a reduction in trade volumes due to the impact of Covid-19 related restrictions throughout January,” she said.

Since the U.K. formally left the bloc on Jan. 1, companies have faced a slew of new checks and paperwork when moving goods between Great Britain and Ireland. A number of firms halted sales into the EU amid the new checks while truckers dealt with much longer queues while moving freight between the two jurisdictions. In addition, many Irish companies bought extra British goods late in 2020 in anticipation of delays.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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