Chronic. Brexit, which entered into force on 1it is January started as expected: relatively bad. It is not the catastrophe. UK supermarket shelves are not empty and there is no truck congestion to paralyze Kent, contrary to more pessimistic forecasts. But in January, UK exports to the European Union (EU) fell 41% and European exports to the UK fell 29%. A phenomenon of exceptional magnitude.
Another symbol: in January, Amsterdam became the first European stock exchange, dethroning the City for the first time. The much-heralded collapse of trade relations between London and Brussels has begun. The tectonic plates began to retreat.
It is true that the fall in January was exceptional and will be absorbed in part. We are in the middle of a pandemic and earlier this year the UK re-established tight containment. In addition, in anticipation of Brexit, companies had accumulated in previous months, automatically accentuating the decline in trade in January. Finally, with an agreement signed on Christmas Eve to take effect on the 1stit is January, many companies were not ready. Today, they have a better handle on the paperwork that they must complete.
“For now, everything is going as expected by economists, says Jonathan Portes, an economist at King’s College London. The impact of non-tariff trade barriers is significant, without constituting a cataclysm. “ In the long term, forecasts point to a decrease in UK exports to the EU of around 20% compared to a no-Brexit scenario.
In addition to the inevitable trade frictions, there is an ongoing regulatory guerrilla war between London and Brussels, which complicates the visibility of companies. Scottish seafood producers have learned this the hard way.
In the first weeks after Brexit took effect, many shipments had to be scrapped. To export it was necessary to make health declarations, but there were not enough veterinarians available … Many companies also made mistakes in the documents necessary to send their goods. At the time of settling everything down, shellfish and crustaceans were no longer safe to eat.
Today, veterinary checks work much better and companies control the paperwork to be completed. But during the month of January, Brussels warned: it will not change its regulations on the purification of seafood. From now on, bivalve molluscs, that is to say oysters, mussels and clams, will have to be purified before being exported to the EU if they come from waters. classified in category B, less pure than category A.
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