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That’s according to trade body the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), based on the top ten food and drink categories exported to the EU.

The FDF listed (also in descending order) Luxembourg, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Croatia as showing the biggest percentage slumps in terms of trade with the UK. The largest export sum lost in a single EU export market was recorded for Ireland – down £255.2m on last year.

The drop in overall export value equated to a £0.75bn loss compared to January last year. The drop in whisky exports equated to the most financial damage in a single category, with £66.5m lopped off international sales. Food exports to non-EU countries also fell by 11.1%.

The impact of COVID and stockpiling by UK businesses in the EU ahead of the end of the transition period were contributing factors in the losses, the FDF stated. But much of the damage was likely due to new non-tariff barriers faced by UK exporters and the collapse of groupage movements which had shut out many small and medium-sized exporters.

Top five exporters to UK

Jan-20 value (£m)

Jan-21 value (£m)

Decline %

France

164

53.3

67.5

Ireland

299.5

45.3

84.9

Netherlands

128.4

45.2

64.8

Germany

105.7

20.5

80.6

Belgium

56.2

20.2

64.1

Imports also fell significantly in January 2021, driven by a drop of nearly 25% from the EU compared to January 2020, worth around £700m.

Source