The United Kingdom’s (UK) departure from the European Union (EU) has not damaged trade between the country and the region, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) said in a report published on Monday.
“The UK’s trade patterns with the EU fail to show a Brexit effect, either since the referendum or at the end of the transition period,” it said.
The UK’s goods exports rose by 13.5 percent to EU countries and 14.3 percent to non-EU countries between 2019 and 2022, before and after Brexit, indicating no impact of Brexit on goods trade.
Over the same period, UK services exports rose by 14.8 percent to EU countries and 22.1 percent to non-EU countries.
The UK’s trade patterns compared to other Group Seven (G7) countries have not changed since Brexit either, the IEA said.
It said that real-world trade data paints an entirely different picture to that of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which had asserted that Brexit barriers would result in a 15 percent drop in trade volumes, contributing to a 4 percent lower GDP in the long run.
“While the data is still emerging and longer-term effects are as yet unknowable, in general, there has been no real disparity between UK trade with EU and non-EU countries,” report author and trade economist Catherine McBride said.
She attributed the resilience of UK trade with the EU to the tariff-free and quota-free Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which was signed in 2020.
The impact of Brexit on trade will ultimately be determined by how the UK uses newfound regulatory and trade policy powers, the economist said.