European Union imports from the United Kingdom slumped by 18.2% in the first six months since it left the union, compared to the corresponding period in 2020.
The figures differ from the results published on Thursday by Britain’s National Statistical Office, which had indicated that exports to the EU other than precious metals had increased in May and June to their levels before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, which took effect on 1 January.
“In the first six months of 2021, following the end of the transition period, EU imports from the UK dropped significantly (-18.2%),” the report by the official European statistics agency Eurostat, released on Friday, read.
European and British administrations use different methodologies to measure cross-border trade, which could explain the different results.
EU exports to the UK, its third-largest trading partner, went up by 5.5% in the first semester of this year, according to Eurostat.
As a result, the EU registered a surplus of €69.8 billion in its trade with the UK, up from €47.8 billion in the first half of 2020.
The UK is the only one of the EU’s 10 main trading partners to register a drop in its sales to Europe. However, EU sales to all 10 countries also went up.
All the others – China, United States, Switzerland, Russia, Turkey, Japan, Norway, South Korea and India – saw their exports to the 27-member bloc increase.
Overall, the EU’s exports increased by 22.3% in the first half of this year, compared to the first semester of 2020, amounting to €188.3 billion. Imports totalled €173.5 billion, a 29.6% increase.
The Brussels Times