Irish exports of goods to the UK have remained stable since Brexit, while imports have fallen by 40 per cent, according to a study.
This contrasts with the rest of the EU, where trade in both directions has fallen by almost a fifth since 2015, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) said.
Since Brexit became a reality in 2021, there have been little or no restrictions on exports from Ireland and the EU.
However, the EU has introduced a series of new paperwork and veterinary checks, particularly for plant and animal products entering the bloc from the UK.
Simon McKeever, chief executive of the Irish Exporters Association, said Irish firms have engaged in “import substitution from and across the continent” to offset the decline in UK trade.
However, he said slowing growth in the UK could hit Irish exporters in the longer term.
“The UK is and will continue to be a very natural partner for our SMEs and domestic Irish businesses. There are currently no barriers to trade with the UK.
“But the other thing is what happens to the pound [sterling]? A 5% move against us on the pound could actually jeopardize jobs and eat up what little margin is left after the energy price hike.
“And if [the UK] If they hit a recession, will they buy less Irish goods? I think Britain is in economic decline.”
The ESRI study tracked the value of trade in goods between the EU and the UK from early 2015, the year before the Brexit vote, to the end of 2021, the first full year of the new EU-UK trade deal.
It shows that EU trade with the UK has grown much slower than EU trade with the rest of the world, even after accounting for the pandemic and pre-Brexit stockpiling.
UK-EU trade fell 16 percent in six years, while EU-UK trade fell 20 percent.
Luxembourg is the only EU country to record an increase in British imports since 2015 (+76 percent). Latvia (+38 percent) and Cyprus (+34 percent) are the only countries that saw an increase in exports to the UK during this period.
But the UK accounts for a tiny percentage of the trade of most EU countries, with the exception of Ireland.
The share of British goods in total EU imports has fallen from 4 to 3 percent since Brexit.
The UK’s share of Irish imports has fallen from 31 per cent to 19 per cent.
The UK’s share of total EU exports has fallen from 7% to 5%. Its share of Irish exports has fallen from 14 to 11 percent.
Figures include Northern Ireland to allow comparison with EU countries.
A previous ESRI study showed that Irish imports from Northern Ireland have increased by 90 per cent since 2015, albeit from very low levels and not enough to offset the loss in UK imports.
The study does not take into account recent inflation, which has seen Irish imports from the UK rise 77 per cent annually in August, largely due to rising fuel prices.
The findings conflict with a separate study by the London School of Economics published earlier this year, which says UK exports have been kept in the bloc while imports from the EU fell by 25 per cent between 2016 and 2021.
https://www.independent.ie/business/brexit/brexit-has-hit-british-trade-harder-than-irish-exports-to-the-uk-42077323.html Brexit has hit UK trade harder than Irish exports to the UK