23 July 2021
Nicolo Tamberi is Research Officer in Economics at the University of Sussex and a fellow of the UKTPO.
We have updated our estimates of the effects of the introduction of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) on UK-EU trade in 2021 through to April. The methodology used was described in the UKTPO briefing paper 57 (see the appendix for details). We find that over the period January-April 2021, the TCA reduced UK exports to the EU by 18.7% and imports from the EU by 25.8% compared to the scenario in which the UK did not leave the EU.
For the analysis, we used HMRC for UK trade and Eurostat data for EU trade excluding gold from both exports and imports (HS code 7108). Over the last few months, analysts and commentators have noted a big gap between UK exports to the EU as reported by the UK and the corresponding flows reported by the EU (that is, UK exports to the EU reported by the UK and EU imports from the UK reported by Eurostat). We have investigated the issue in detail in our latest working paper and concluded that we agreed with the ONS that UK reported data should be used instead of the EU reported mirror flows. While both the UK and the EU changed the data collection method for UK-EU trade in 2021, the changes undertaken by the EU in its reported imports are larger than those of UK reported exports.
As always, these data are provisional and could be revised in the future, so our results should not be interpreted as definitive. Our preferred estimation, which uses the synthetic control method, shows that UK exports to the EU have been dramatically affected in January 2021 (-42%) and we find some milder evidence that they were negatively affected also in April 2021 (-14.3%). Adding up the period January-April 2021, UK exports to the EU were down by 18.7%. On the other hand, UK imports from the EU saw a smaller drop in January 2021, but they remained consistently below expectations for all months of 2021 to date. Over the entire period January-April 2021, UK imports have been 25.8% less than what they would have been otherwise. This can be seen in the figures below where the blue line depicts what actually happened, the orange lines give our counterfactual synthetic control estimates for what would have happened in the absence of Brexit.
The figures show actual UK exports to and imports from the EU excluding gold (HS 7108) and the synthetic series. We estimated the model for UK trade with each EU country and then aggregated the figure to EU total.
It is clear that over the period there has been a decline in exports and imports. The decline in imports appears to have been more consistent than the impact on exports and at this stage that is still somewhat puzzling. These are also still ‘early’ impacts as they only for the first four months.
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Charlotte Humma July 23rd, 2021
Posted In: UK- EU
Michael Gasiorek is Professor of Economics and Director of the UKTPO. Yohannes Ayele is Research Fellow in the Economics of Brexit at the University of Sussex and Fellow of the UKTPO.
A decline in trade with the EU was expected following the coming into force of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU on the 1st of January. Nevertheless, when the UK January trade figures were released in early March, almost unanimously commentators were surprised by the extent of the decline. We now have the data for February and so in this blog we update the numbers and discuss their significance. (more…)
George Meredith April 20th, 2021
Michael Gasiorek is Professor of Economics and Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex. Suzannah Walmsley is Principal Consultant and Fisheries and Aquaculture Business Development Manager at ABPmer.
Last week the UK’s trade data for January 2021 came out and the evidence was pretty striking. It showed a dramatic decline in UK exports and imports in January, and particularly so with the EU. Now some of this will have been driven by Covid-related lockdown restrictions, and some of the dramatic fall in trade with the EU itself may have been driven by firms’ stockpiling in November and December to protect themselves against the much-publicised potential border difficulties arising from the UK’s exit from the EU and the end of the transition period.
In this blog we dig a bit deeper into those numbers and focus just on fisheries. (more…)
George Meredith March 23rd, 2021
Simon Evenett is Professor of International Trade and Economic Development at the University of St. Gallen, and coordinator of the Global Trade Alert. He is an Associate Fellow of the UKTPO. L. Alan Winters CB is Professor of Economics and Director of the UKTPO.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted trade policy, along with everything else. As nations scrambled this year to source medical supplies – equipment, drugs and personal protective equipment – 89 governments imposed 154 restrictions on exports. What is much less well known is that 154 reforms easing imports of these goods were implemented by 104 nations too. It took a pandemic for some policymakers to grasp that taxing imported soap makes no sense.
As well as up-ending trade in the medical goods, these policy shifts have the unintended consequence of providing the foundation for a new trade bargain between nations over medical supplies. As a sizeable and reliable exporter of these goods this matters for the UK and comes at the time when British ministers and officials want to showcase an independent trade policy. It is at times like these—when the big beasts of the world trading system are at loggerheads—that, traditionally, the free trading so-called middle powers lay the groundwork for the next trade deals. (more…)
George Meredith June 12th, 2020
An international agreement on vital medical goods that keeps import restrictions low and constrains the use of export bans could help ensure all countries have sufficient supplies for the fight against Coronavirus, our new briefing paper proposes.
According to the report, which was produced in collaboration with Global Trade Alert, a global bargain where exporting nations give assurances medical supplies will not be cut off arbitrarily and importing governments agree not to re-introduce their import restrictions would remove disruption and uncertainty around the availability of life-saving goods. (more…)
George Meredith May 1st, 2020
Julia Magntorn Garrett is a Research Officer in Economics at the University of Sussex and Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.
In March 2019, Theresa May’s Government published a set of ‘No deal’ tariffs, designed to apply for up to 12 months in the event that the UK left the EU without a deal. The UKTPO described them in a blog and a Briefing Paper. On October 8, the new Government published an updated ‘No deal’ tariff schedule. This blog outlines the main changes, and recalculates various statistics, on the basis of the new tariff proposal. (more…)
Charlotte Humma October 16th, 2019
Michael Gasiorek is Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and a Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.
With the current state of negotiations between the UK and the EU it is easy to see why attention is focussed on the politics of a possible agreement. The contentious issue is, of course, that of the Irish border. However, the focus on the politics means that there has been little discussion of the economic impacts and specifically of the vulnerability of the Northern Irish economy to the decisions being made. (more…)
Charlotte Humma October 14th, 2019
Posted In: UK- EU
Dr Michael Gasiorek is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Sussex and Julia Magntorn Garrett is a Research Officer in Economics at the University of Sussex. Both are fellows of the UK Trade Policy Observatory. L. Alan Winters CB is Professor of Economics and Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.
Following the first defeat of the Withdrawal Bill in Parliament, and prior to yesterday’s vote on a ‘No Deal’ alternative, the Government published the temporary tariff schedule it proposes to apply in the event of a no deal. As with most things Brexit, this is complicated to unpick, especially as some of the listed items are simply asterisked, and the details on these need to be found in another (1400 page) document! (more…)
Charlotte Humma March 14th, 2019
L. Alan Winters CB is Professor of Economics and Director of the Observatory and Julia Magntorn is Research Officer in Economics at the UKTPO.
There is much to digest in the White Paper on The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union and much to clarify. This blog is devoted entirely to trying to understand the Facilitated Customs Arrangement (FCA) that aims to deliver frictionless trade in goods between the UK and the EU after Brexit.
The FCA matters because trade that is ‘as frictionless as possible’ with the EU is now accepted by nearly everyone as desirable and has been characterised by much of business as essential. It also matters in the short term, however, because it is the UK government’s offer to the EU on how to ensure that there is no border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Without a solution to this latter problem there will be no Withdrawal Agreement and no transition. (more…)
Charlotte Humma July 23rd, 2018
Posted In: UK - Non EU
With one year to go until the UK will leave the European Union (EU), sorting out Britain’s trade relation with the EU is the most important task. Yet the design of the future UK-EU agreement has implications for trade policy towards non-EU countries. On account of this, the British Prime Minister in her Mansion House speech ruled out forming a new customs union with the EU because this “would not be compatible with a meaningful independent trade policy.” Indeed, having sovereignty over its external trade policy post-Brexit has been at the forefront of the UK’s negotiation agenda, and consequently, the provision in the current draft Withdrawal Agreement that the UK may commence Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with other countries during the transition period was perceived as an important concession won. (more…)
Charlotte Humma March 29th, 2018