BCC: Trade statistics show pandemic masks effects of Brexit
Responding to trade figures from the Office for National Statistics, William Bain, head of trade policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The pandemic and the shift to new trading conditions in the way UK companies sell goods. services to the EU led to a marked reduction in trade in services between the UK and the EU compared to 2019.
“The ONS data release shows that trade in services with the EU fell at a faster rate than trade with the rest of the world in the two years to the end of March 2021.
“Services exports to the EU fell 14.7% during this period and imports by 38.8%.
“Statistics indicate that the effects of the pandemic have masked the real long-term impact of the UK-EU ATT on trade in services, particularly in relation to business travel and the provision of services.
“As economies reopen, the effects of these problems will be slow, but nevertheless increasingly felt by companies operating both in the UK and in Europe.
“The UK government should seek to be ambitious in a joint program with the EU on mutual recognition of professional qualifications, creating more flexibility around the TCA for business travel and liberalizing bookings on access to services to help jumpstart our economic recovery after Covid-19. ”