Macron is 'untethered' without Angela Merkel says expert
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A spokesman explained: “Since 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – German exports to the UK have steadily declined.” It did not give a sector-by-sector breakdown. However, it attributed the January slump to “the effects of Brexit after the year 2020, which was marked by the pandemic.”
The January slump in bilateral trade compared with a more modest decline in December 2020, when German exports to the UK fell by 3.3 percent on the year, to 5.0 billion euros, and imports from the UK dropped 11.4 percent to 2.8 billion euros.
Gabriel Felbermayr, president of the IfW economic institute in Kiel, said the January export slump was probably an “outlier” as the pandemic slowed trade, and as exporters adjusted to new customs formalities.
He added: “In the long term, we assume that German exports to the UK will be 10 percent below the level expected without Brexit.”
In 2020 as a whole, German exports to the UK fell by 15.5 percent compared to 2019, recording the biggest year-on-year decline since the financial and economic crisis in 2009, when they fell by 17 percent, the Office said.
In 2015 German exports to the UK amounted to 89.0 billion euros. In 2020, German they totalled 66.9 billion euros.
Imports to Germany, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, from the UK totalled 34.7 billion euros in 2020, down 9.6 percent compared to 2019.
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Addressing the trade deal signed off on in December, Mr Felbermayr said it was “far removed from the rules of the single market” in the EU and will dampen trade.
Many firms on the continent had already reorganised supply chains and scaled back business with Britain, he explained.
New customs rules which took effect in January have increased the cost and complexity of trade between Britain and the EU, especially for smaller firms, and caused delays to freight at the borders.
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The International Monetary Fund estimates that the UK and eurozone economies will not return to their pre-pandemic levels until next year.
Ahead of formal departure from the EU on December 31, British businesses rushed to bring goods into the country – stockpiling that often results in a dip in activity later.
A separate European Commission analysis published last month suggested the country’s economy will be hit by an estimated £30billion over the next two years.
Commenting, former German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel, who is also the former president of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), told Express.co.uk: “Germany is particularly impacted.
“Not only was Britain the second largest net contributor to the EU‘s Budget and, it is now for Germany to pick up the largest portion of the missing funds.
“Since Brexit, German exports have taken a huge beating.”
He added: “With Britain having left the EU an important, eloquent and powerful voice for competitiveness, for self-responsibility and for subsidiarity has been silenced and is already missing in Brussels.
“For instance, Britain would never have agreed to the EU being able to become an independent debtor to finance the Covid relief package in the countries.
“Without Britain, France now calls the shots Brussels, Germany will as usual duck away.”
(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)
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