According to the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS), total trade in goods with EU countries fell by more than 23% between the first three months of 2018 and the first three months of 2021, but only by 0 , 8% for third countries.
Germany, traditionally the UK’s largest trading partner, saw its imports to the UK start to decline in 2019 as uncertainty over the country’s exit from the bloc dampened corporate enthusiasm.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures imposed to curb its spread, which have severely weakened economies around the world, have accelerated the trend, pushing Germany to lose its title as the UK’s top trading partner in mid-2020 .
Overall, UK imports from Germany fell 11.8 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to three years ago to a total of £ 12.5 billion (14 , 4 billion euros). During the same period, imports from China jumped almost 66 percent to reach £ 16.9 (€ 19.5 billion), or 16.1 percent of merchandise imports from the UK. United in the first trimester.
The ONS noted that although imports from China have been on an upward trajectory for years, they accelerated in the second half of last year, “likely due to the relatively limited impact of the COVID pandemic. -19 on Chinese exports ”.
“This, combined with the growing demand for commodities produced by China, such as electronic machinery (telecommunications and sound equipment), probably explains the increase in imports observed in 2020.”
“Additionally, UK imports of textile fabrics from China surged in 2020, driven by demand for face masks and personal protective equipment,” he added.
China recovered fairly quickly from the pandemic and was the only major economy in the world to show growth in merchandise trade in 2020.