CSO data shows biggest fall is in chemicals, food and live animals
IRELAND'S imports of goods from Britain slumped in May as the realities of Brexit hit the flow of goods between the two jurisdictions.
The latest trade data published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) yesterday shows that imports from Britain tumbled by €455m, or 31pc, to €992m in March this year compared to March 2020.
The biggest falls in imports from Britain were seen in food and live animals, chemicals and related products, according to the CSO. Machinery and transport equipment imports also fell.
Imports from Britain represented 11pc of the total goods imported into Ireland during March.
But while imports from Britain declined, exports from Ireland rose.
The CSO figures show that exports to Britain jumped 13pc, or €139m, to more than €1.2bn in March. Chemicals and related products, machinery and transport equipment accounted for most of the increase. There was a decline in the exports of food and live animals, however.
Jarlath O’Keefe, partner in indirect taxes at Grant Thornton Ireland, noted that decline in March imports from Britain is “largely attributable” to a decrease in imports in the agricultural sector.
“This statistic is not surprising in light of the additional costs and restrictions borne by Irish businesses when importing such products, when compared to the relative administrative ease and economic viability of sourcing such products on the island of Ireland or from other EU member states,” he said.
Despite imports from Britain falling in March, Ireland’s overall imports for the month were €2bn, or 30pc higher on an unadjusted basis, at €8.7bn year-on-year.
Mr O’Keefe said this is evidence that Irish businesses are adjusting their supply chains to source products.
New freight routes have opened from Ireland to continental Europe in recent months as many hauliers sought to bypass the UK landbridge traditionally used to facilitate trade. New ferry routes opened from Rosslare, Cork and Dublin to destinations such as Dunkirk, Zeebrugge and Santander.’
About 150,000 trucks travelled every year to and from Ireland using the UK landbridge before Brexit. The number using the landbridge slumped 50pc in January.
The latest trade figures from the CSO show that the EU accounted for €3.1bn, or 36pc, of total goods imports to Ireland in March, which is an increase of €975m, or 48pc, compared with March 2020. The US accounted for almost €1.5bn, or 17pc of goods imports, while China accounted for €699m, or 8pc.
The unadjusted value of goods exports for March this year was €14.6bn, a fall of €3bn, or 17pc compared to March 2020.
“This was due in part to exceptionally high exports in March 2020, as companies increased their exports in anticipation of the pandemic lockdown,” noted the CSO.
Exports of medical and pharmaceutical products fell by €451m, or 7pc, in March to almost €5.8bn.