UK 'still dependent on EU' for trade

Brexit | | MIC Customs Solutions |

A new report has found the EU continues to make up more than half of UK trade, despite efforts by Westminster to look for deals further afield.

A new report has found that the UK remains reliant on its EU neighbors for trade, despite efforts to seek out new partnerships in the wake of Brexit.

In fact, the research, by thinktank UK In a Changing Europe, found that in 2023, the EU's share of UK trade reached its highest since before the 2016 vote to leave the EU, at 53 percent.

Meanwhile, although the UK government has been keen to tout new deals, it noted that Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Australia and New Zealand make up less than one per cent of the country's trade.

The report stated that the findings illustrate how the UK has been unable to move away from its close trading relationship with Europe - a situation that is unlikely to change in the near future.

Author Stephen Hunsaker said: "As yet, the UK has been unable to defy gravity - the well-established fact that trade with your neighbors is easier than trade with the other side of the world."

The research noted that in the future, larger deals with countries such as the US and India could make a bigger impact on UK trade. However, this is a long way off, as FTA negotiations with India remain ongoing, while Washington has indicated it has no interest in a bilateral deal.

While the US is the UK's largest single trading partner, accounting for 11.23 percent of the country's trade, Germany was not far behind at 11.07 percent, followed by the Netherlands (8.98 percent) and China (8.25 percent)

Overall, it found the UK also has the least open trading arrangements of any member of the G7. It also warned that the prospect of upcoming changes to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU that would see the UK introduce new checks on food, animal and plant imports may have a negative effect on trade.

The introduction of tougher border checks has already been postponed multiple times, with the latest deadline set to see the new rules come into force on January 31st.