UK-France trade bounced back to close to pre-pandemic levels in March, raising hopes that the impact of Britain’s departure from the EU might not be as dramatic as feared.
Data from French customs officials showed that after a plunge in January, imports from the UK rose to 107 per cent of pre-Covid levels last month, with exports at 96 per cent.
The figures, which were reported by the Telegraph, suggest the business may now be adapting to the dual challenges presented by the UK’s new trading relationship with the bloc and the pandemic.
They are a marked improvement on January, when imports from the UK fell to about 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
That was part of a wider slump of UK-EU trade, which saw exports and imports from the bloc fall 40.7 per cent and 28.8 per cent respectively.
David Frost, the Prime Minister’s UK-EU trade adviser, said that the fall was a result of a “unique combination of factors”.
Despite some disruption at customs chokepoints at the beginning of the year, trade between the EU and its former member has continued relatively incident-free since January.
However, not all the most recent figures made such encouraging reading. German exports to the United Kingdom fell by 12.2 per cent on the year in February and imports slumped 26.9 per cent, the German Federal Statistics Office said. Germany is the UK’s biggest trading partner.
And Portugal said that imports from the UK had more than halved in the same month, with exports also down 15 per cent.