Imports from Britain down a quarter as Brexit ‘still having repercussions three years on’

Brexit is “still having repercussions three years on”, as imports from Britain to Ireland fell by a quarter in the year to November, while imports from Northern Ireland over the same period have increased by 50 per cent.

Goods trade figures for November published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Monday show that while exports to Britain in November reached €1.7 billion, an 11 per cent increase on the same month in 2022, imports from Britain to Ireland fell by 25 per cent to €1.5 billion over the same period.

Regarding the fall in imports, Janette Maxwell, director in tax at Grant Thornton Ireland, said that “it is likely that Brexit is still having repercussions three years on”.

“With the inevitable additional delays and customs checks arising on acquiring goods from a non-EU country, it is no surprise that Irish traders are looking at alternative EU markets,” she said.

The largest fall in imports from Britain was for mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials which more than halved from €612 million in November 2022 to €271 million in November 2023, while the value of imported chemical and related products fell more than a third from €390 million to €242 million over the same period.

She added that an increase in Irish exports to Britain is a “strong indicator of the reliance that Great Britain has on its closest trading partner and this trend is anticipated to continue”.

The export of chemicals and related products to Britain was the main driver of the increase, with some €775 million worth of these goods exported across the Irish Sea in November.

While imports from Britain to Ireland decreased, imports from Northern Ireland increased by 50 per cent in November, compared to the same month in 2022, to €659 million.

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The largest driver was also chemicals and related products, as imports from Northern Ireland in November reached €345 million, almost tripling from €123 million a year previously.

Britain accounted for 11 per cent of Ireland’s total exports in November, while 42 per cent of goods were exported to the EU, and 25 per cent to the US.

The State’s total unadjusted exports fell to €16.5 billion in November, down almost €600 million on the same month in 2022. In the 11-month period from January to November last year, the value of exports totalled €183.2 billion, a 5 per cent decrease on the same period in 2022.

In terms of imports, unadjusted figures show that November saw €12.4 billion in goods enter the country, up 2 per cent on the same month in 2022. In the first 11 months of 2023, imports reached €125.4 billion, a 2 per cent fall on the same period in 2022.

Seasonally adjusted goods exports were €15.8 billion in November 2023, down 11 per cent on a month a previously. Meanwhile, seasonally adjusted imports were €11.7 billion in November, up 9 per cent on October figures.

This led to a 42 per cent decrease in the seasonally adjusted trade surplus, which totalled €4.1 billion in November 2023.


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