Politics

100 days of Brexit: a trade drop and political tensions

By Guillermo Ximenis

London, Apr 10 (EFE).- In the one hundred days that have passed since Brexit, trade across the English Channel has plunged to its lowest level since records began and tempers between London and Brussels have shown signs of flaring.

In January, the UK’s first month as a newly non-EU member, exports to the bloc fell by 40.7% (5.6 billion pounds; $7.7 billion) and imports by 28.8% (6.6 billion pounds), according to the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics.

It was the biggest drop since 1997 when records began.

Imports were less affected because the UK delayed the implementation of customs checks on goods from EU countries until 2022, a measure designed to soften the economic blow of Brexit.

On the other side of the English Channel, however, customs checks have been in place since 31 December. This has prompted a 59% drop in the export of food and livestock from the UK compared to January 2020, while chemical products and fuel dropped by 52% and 45% respectively.

The coming months will reveal whether UK exports to the EU will rebound or not.

One of the points of tension between the EU and the UK is the customs border between Northern Ireland, a UK territory, and Great Britain.

The decision to introduce checks on trade across the Irish Sea was drawn up to avoid the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which would have been a breach of the Good Friday peace agreement.

The peace deal put an end to decades of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.

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