Sharp fall in UK exports to the EU only partly due to Brexit, says IEA expert

Responding to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showing a sharp fall in UK exports to the European Union, Julian Jessop, Economics Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The sharp fall in UK exports to the EU in January was still smaller than some had warned and only partly due to new trade frictions at the end of the Brexit transition period. More timely data also suggest that trade has already begun to recover as businesses adjust to the new arrangements.

“Nonetheless, anything that increases barriers to trade is bad for consumers – and this applies at least as much to imports as it does to exports. Trade is voluntary and benefits both sides, or else it would not happen at all.

“Many UK consumers and businesses have made a free choice to buy imported goods and services rather than those available at home. An increase in trade barriers that forces them to substitute imports from the EU with domestically-produced alternatives is not therefore a ‘benefit’ of Brexit.”


Notes to editors

For media enquiries, please contact Emily Carver on 07715 942 731 or [email protected].

IEA spokespeople are available for further comment and interview.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.