Northern Ireland Protocol: Imports from GB drop by over 20% since Brexit

Goods imported from Great Britain to NI have dropped by more than a fifth since Brexit, figures show.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 17th January 2022, 6:15 pm
Updated Monday, 17th January 2022, 6:28 pm

The latest numbers from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the value of goods imported from GB fell by almost £2.75bn from January to November last year.

The drop in imports comes as cross-border trade continues to rise. Exports from NI to the Republic jumped by more than 64%, while exports to NI also rose by more than 50%.

The figures come amid ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU over the future of the NI Protocol.

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A sign protesting against the Northern Ireland Protocol in Larne Harbour, Northern Ireland.

Unionists argue that the post-Brexit trade arrangements damage the union between NI and GB by placing a border in the Irish Sea.

Those trade arrangements have created economic barriers on the movement of goods between GB and NI, with the aim being to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

It has achieved that by effectively keeping NI within the EU’s single market for goods, an arrangement which has led to the checks on products crossing the Irish Sea from GB.

Jarlath O’Keefe, from Grant Thornton Ireland, said: “The CSO figures for November confirmed that there has been a significant increase in cross border trade on the island of Ireland in 2021 following Brexit.

“This is due in part to businesses adjusting their supply chains to avoid the administrative burden associated with importing goods from Britain.

“Exports to Northern Ireland were £2.8bn in the period January to November 2021, an increase of £900m on the same period in 2020.”

Exports of electrical machinery, appliances and parts was the main driver, while exports of organic chemicals increased by more than 16%. Exports of food and live animals increased by more than 15%. Exports of medical and pharmaceutical products decreased by £835m.

Exports to GB in the first 11 months of 2021 were £11.2bn, an increase of over 20%. Exports from GB to the Republic in November last year also increased by more than 16% compared to November 2020.

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