Canadian grains and Dutch fruit replace imports from UK in post-Brexit trade upheaval

Ireland has replaced Britain’s food, steel and fertilizer imports in the Brexit-caused trade freeze.

Figures from the Irish Maritime Authority show how trading patterns changed after Brexit last year, with a 36 per cent drop in UK grain imports being offset by a 34 per cent rise in Canadian imports.

UK fruit and vegetable imports fell 52 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020, while similar produce from the Netherlands rose 42 per cent.

Ireland also receives more non-agricultural fertilizer from the Netherlands (+62 percent) compared to the UK (-57 percent), the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) said yesterday.

Iron and steel imports from Spain rose 108 percent last year, while imports from Britain fell 34 percent.

The EU imposes a quota on steel imports from outside the bloc, with 25 percent tariffs in place once quarterly limits are met.

Meanwhile, imports of dairy products and eggs from Britain fell by over 140,000 tonnes last year compared to 2020, while car imports fell by 156,000 tonnes, according to IMDO.

Britain’s share of Ireland’s non-energy imports has almost halved between 2020 and 2021 after the Brexit trade deal took effect, according to IMDO.

In 2020, the UK accounted for 27 per cent of Ireland’s non-energy imports, measured in tonnage. That fell to 15 percent in 2021.

But Northern Ireland’s share of Ireland’s non-energy imports rose from 11 to 14 per cent over the same period.

There are no restrictions on trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland under a protocol to the UK’s 2019 exit agreement, effectively keeping the North in the EU’s single market for goods.

Northern Ireland ports are also benefiting from ongoing mainland UK trade opt-outs under the protocol as companies seek to avoid additional import controls in Dublin.

IMDO’s Irish Maritime Transport Economist report confirms data from the Port of Dublin and the Economic and Social Research Institute showing that Ireland’s trade with mainland Britain has fallen by around 20 per cent since Brexit.

This was offset by an increase in freight traffic to European ports and a surge in imports from Northern Ireland, which rose 25 percent to 572,000 tonnes in 2021, IMDO said.

“It is clear that transport companies based in Northern Ireland have shifted significant traffic away from Ireland [roll on, roll off] Services in the Republic of Ireland in 2021,” according to the IMDO report.

Dublin Port was the biggest loser of this shift, IMDO said, with Rosslare Europort gaining a significant share of the traffic thanks to the emergence of new trade routes to Europe.

Overall there was a decrease of 219,139 roll on roll off units (trucks and trailers) between Ireland and the UK last year compared to 2020, a drop of 22 per cent.

This compares to an increase of 185,572 units on routes from Ireland to Europe, an increase of 94 per cent, and an additional 101,511 units on routes between Northern Ireland and the UK, an increase of 12 per cent.

While passenger numbers on Northern Ireland sea routes have recovered – thanks largely to the lack of Covid restrictions on travel to mainland Britain – they are still well below pre-pandemic levels on Irish routes.

That puts Irish passenger services at risk of “long-term vulnerability”, IMDO said. Canadian grains and Dutch fruit replace imports from UK in post-Brexit trade upheaval

Fry Electronics Team

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