Britain’s goods exports to Ireland have fallen by 20% since the UK left the single market, according to data released by Ireland’s Central Statistics Office on Monday.
The CSO reported imports worth €12,501 million between January and November 2021, down €3,272 million from the same period in 2020.
At the same time, exports to Great Britain increased by 20% during the same period.
One of the effects of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which imposed customs controls on goods traveling from Britain to Northern Ireland but kept the province in the EU’s single market for goods, was an increase important part of intra-Irish trade.
The protocol has created a situation where exporters from Northern Ireland can benefit from dual access to the single markets of the EU and the UK, while importers face customs checks on both sides, that disrupts supply chains.
Imports from Northern Ireland jumped 64% to €3,679 million compared to the first eleven months of 2020, while exports to Northern Ireland from the Republic increased by 48%.
45% of UK businesses reported difficulty adapting to changes in the rules for buying or selling goods brought about by the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, according to a survey published on last month by the British Chambers of Commerce.
“These data certainly illustrate that the problems with the TCA are not ‘start-up problems’ but rather structural flaws which, while fixable, if left unaddressed, will cause long-term damage to our economy. “said Shevaun Haviland, chief executive of the British Chambers of Commerce.
In addition to the additional paperwork caused by the protocol, businesses have also reported new burdens due to VAT requirements, customs controls and rules of origin requirements.
Business leaders in Northern Ireland have told EURACTIV that most UK businesses exporting to Northern Ireland are unprepared for post-Brexit life, and say one in five businesses in Ireland du Nord had reported that his British supplier would no longer trade.
UK and EU officials have been locked in negotiations to ease the burden on Northern Irish businesses for the past six months, while pro-British Unionist parties in Northern Ireland say the protocol risks undermining stability in the province.
Last week, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she would not agree to an arrangement that continues to see goods moving into the UK subject to checks, instead proposing a system of self- certification on the assumption that most goods would not travel beyond Northern Ireland and therefore do not need to be checked or subject to additional documentation.