Germans spent 11% less on British goods

Photo: EPA

Britain is expected to drop out of the list of Germany's top 10 trading partners by the end of 2021, official German statistics reported. Germans spent £13.8bn, or nearly 11%, less on British goods in the first six months of 2021, according to data from the Federal Statistics Office, quoted by BBC. Britain has been in Germany's top 10 trading partners since 1950. The change is seen as a result of Brexit-related hurdles and by the end of 2021 UK is seen sliding to 11th spot on the list.

The UK left EU single market - which allows frictionless trade and the free movement of people between its members - at the end of 2020 after four years of wrangling. Since then, customs checks have been implemented, which have complicated trade. As a result, German companies have been looking to source goods from EU suppliers instead of UK ones - and this trend is increasing, an expert said. "More and more small and medium-sized companies are ceasing to trade with the UK because of these hurdles," said Michael Schmidt, president of the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany. They "simply can't afford the extra burden of keeping up to date and complying with all the kicked-in customs rules, such as health certificates for cheese and other fresh products", he added.

Two sectors that have been particularly hard hit are agriculture and pharmaceuticals, where imports have dropped by 80% and 50% respectively. This has seen the UK drop down the ranks in terms of trade with the EU's biggest economy. Before the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, it was Germany's fifth most important trading partner.

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