New report shows Irish imports from Britain plummeted after Brexit

A NEW report has revealed a huge fall in Irish imports from Britain in the wake of Brexit.

The report, from the Department of Finance and the ESRI, also reveals the share of exports from Ireland to Britain has likewise suffered, although not as severely.

However the report’s authors warned exports will be subject to higher costs next year due to an upcoming increase in customs checks.

Brexit impact

The report excluded the impact and effects of other trade drivers, such as Covid-19, to give a clear image of the Brexit impact.

It showed that Britain’s share of Irish imports fell from 23 per cent in 2015 to 7.2 per cent in early 2021.

The authors admit the impact is asymmetrical, however exports were hit less harshly, declining from 10.9 per cent to 6.3 per cent.

Some individual exporters have been hit harder than others, particularly in the food and beverage sectors.

However the report’s authors say this sector has been the main driver for an increase in imports from Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland’s share of Irish imports increased from 1.5 per cent in 2015 to 5 per cent in the aftermath of Brexit.

Where Northern Ireland previously accounted for 6 per cent of Irish imports from the UK, it now makes up 40 per cent of said imports.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s share of total Irish exports increased modestly, from 1.4 per cent to 1.7 per cent.

‘Higher costs’

“Although many supply chain challenges have come together since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the greatest driver of the reduction in Irish imports from Britain can be traced to a Brexit effect,” said report co-author Martina Lawless.

“There has been a less substantial impact on exporters so far, but these are at risk of higher costs as more customs checks are introduced over the next year.”

Britain’s HMRC has today urged businesses to prepare for changes to customs arrangements in the New Year.

In a statement, they said current customs arrangements for goods moving from Ireland and Northern Ireland to Great Britain will be extended for as long as discussions on the Northern Ireland Protocol are ongoing.

This means that full customs controls will be introduced as planned on January 1, 2022 for goods exported from Great Britain to Ireland.

The full Department of Finance / ESRI report can be downloaded by clicking here.

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