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How UK Food and Drink Exports to the EU and Non-EU Countries Have Evolved Over Time

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According to a Food and Drink Federation report, food and drink exports from the UK to the European Union (EU) have declined by almost half (£2 billion) at the beginning of 2021, and sales to non-EU nations have accounted for 55% of total exports. 

This is mainly because most companies today are grappling with paperwork, costs, and delays as a result of new veterinary assessments and customs. Moreover, small businesses are unable to send collective shipments in one load. 

General food and drinks exports have thus dropped 28% to £3.7 billion. Sales to Ireland, one of the biggest markets for the UK, also fell more than two-thirds to £281 million. Sales to Spain and Germany have dropped by over a half as well. 

Due to the consequences of COVID-19 and changes in the UK’s trading relationships, one of the most affected areas was dairy exports to the EU, reporting a 90% decline in cream and milk sales. Cheese exports also declined by two-thirds, according to Farming UK reports. FDF’s international trade head, Dominic Goudie, called on exports to offer more support, stating, “we set out a plan to mitigate these impacts by boosting support for exporters, and this was backed by the Trade and Agriculture Commission. The Government must stop prevaricating and get behind these proposals to help exporters that have been shut out of trading with the EU.”

Other Potential Markets

The UK government noted that general exports to the EU between March and April increased in 2020. This growth was associated with assistance given to businesses through webinars, export helplines, and a £20 million Brexit fund to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and trade advisers. On the other hand, the Food and Drink Federation highlights a massive growth in some East Asian markets such as South Korea and China, whose growth was 18.5% and 28.2%, respectively, compared to the previous year.  

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Government officials said the COVID-19 pandemic had weakened demand, and making conclusions about the effect of Brexit on exports to the EU was impossible at this point. It is worth noting that entrepreneurs usually identify market opportunities even though trade is registered between different countries.  

Some of the export statistics mentioned here have occurred due to continued efforts to develop robust supply chain relationships between different parties. Such relationships are founded on trust, whose development is an investment, meaning it takes time. Both traders and countries should guard this investment not only to avoid losing it but also to recover from the pandemic’s unpredictable impacts. 

The impact of transforming the current export trends can affect rural areas’ income. It also has multiple effects, which are crucial for social and economic stability. 

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To find out more about how the pandemic is affecting industries worldwide, make sure to check out the rest of our site!

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