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    Brexit: Belgian exports to the United Kingdom begin to fall

    This decrease is explained by an anticipated "Brexit effect", according to the institution. Credit: Creative commons

    Belgian exports to the United Kingdom fell by 12.27% in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, according to National Bank data on Monday.

    This decrease is explained by an anticipated “Brexit effect”, according to the institution.

    The decrease is mainly felt in the mineral (-57.9%) and pharmaceutical (-16.6%) sectors, as well as in the road transport of materials (-3.4%).

    Belgian food and beverage products sent to the United Kingdom , however, have seen almost continuous growth since 2014, as previously reported. In 2014, food exports amounted to €2 billion. In 2018, they reached 2.2 billion. This represents an increase of 8.1% in four years.

    Both imports and exports progressed by 3% in the first six months, compared to the same period in 2018. Exports amounted to €142.6 billion and imports to €147.4 billion. The trade balance thus showed a deficit of €4.8 billion, comparable to that of the first half of 2018.

    The growth rate for the first six months of 2019 is evenly split between the internal and external markets of the European Union. Within the EU, exports to the Netherlands and Germany rose sharply, by 5.6% and 7.7% respectively.

    Conversely, exports to the United Kingdom fell by 6.9%. Imports from France recorded the strongest growth (+10.4%). Outside Europe, exports to the United States jumped 27.7%, while those to China fell 8.9%. Imports from the Middle Kingdom rose by 15.9%.

    Uncertainties over Brexit continues to be at the forefront of discussions, spurred on by a lack of progress. On Monday British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, pulled out of a press conference after he was booed by crowds as he left a working lunch with outgoing President of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, in Luxembourg on Monday afternoon.

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times