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In the News

UK-EU Trade hit by Non-Tariff Trade Barriers

Geoff Riley

20th October 2022

There are signs that the decision by the UK government to leave the single market of the European Union is having a damaging impact on UK exports to our largest trading partner.

UK-EU Trade hit by Non-Tariff Trade Barriers

The UK exited the EU Single Market and Customs Union on January 1, 2021.

A Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) was signed on 30 December 2020.

This allows most UK exports to be sold tariff-free.

Although most exports are tariff free – there are non-tariff barriers to overcome. All goods traded between the UK and the EU now face customs formalities and customs checks where previously this had not been the case. The customs documentation for sanitary products are especially stringent, time-consuming and costly.

And because the UK is no longer in the single market, UK firms must continue to produce to EU standards, whilst at the same time prove that they are doing so.

Research data finds that the value of trade from the UK to EU is 16% lower than if Brexit had not happened.

According to HMRC data, the number of UK businesses exporting to the EU fell to 18,357 in 2021 from 27,321 in 2020.

Graham's comments:

Another example here of one of the obvious costs of Brexit, the fact that the EU and the UK have different safety standards - the European Union’s CE mark and a new UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark - has increased red tape, reduced innovation and will, no doubt, deter investment and economic growth.

It is particularly tricky in those sectors of industry such as medicine and healthcare, where there's lots of innovation.

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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