21 October 2022


On 20 October, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) published its report ‘How has Brexit changed EU-UK trade flows?’, which estimates how Brexit has affected goods trade between the EU and the UK. Using product-level trade flows between the EU and all other countries in the world as a comparison group, the report finds that Brexit has caused UK-EU trade flows to fall by 16%, while EU-UK trade has dropped 20%.

The report illustrates that UK trade shows imports from EU members dropped precipitously from a peak of about 57% in 2018, to just over 40% at the start of this year. However, exports from the UK to the rest of the world had increased.

The report notes: “Across EU member states, we find Brexit has led to a significant decline in trade with the UK in almost all cases, although by varying magnitudes. Looking at the different margins of trade, we find a substantial reduction in the number of products traded from the UK to the EU.” It adds: “[It] leaves open for future research the question of whether the patterns of relatively slow UK export growth to the rest of the world and more rapid import growth can be attributed [to] a Brexit effect, perhaps via changing supply chains. Over time, firm-level data may help to shed light on this issue.”

You can read the full report here.