Britain’s exit from the European Union has hit Spanish imports from Britain in the first two months of the year as new EU trade rules disrupt trade flows across the Channel.
Spain’s imports from the UK decreased 49% in the first two months of the year compared with the same period a year ago. By contrast, intra-EU trade data showed Spanish imports fell only 7%, the Spanish industry ministry said on Thursday.
During the same period, Spanish exports to Britain decreased 15%, much more than the 5.1% drop of Spain’s sales to other EU partners. The ministry hasn’t provided trade balance data with individual countries.
Britain ended its transition out of the European Union on the Jan. 1 following a referendum in 2016, effectively erecting barriers to the trade of all sorts of goods and services.
Overall, data from the Spanish industry ministry showed the country’s trade deficit narrowed 49% in the first two months of the year compared with a year earlier to 2.85 billion euros ($3.41 billion). Total imports fell 11% to 46.89 billion euros, while exports decreased 6.6% to 44.04 billion euros as a result of coronavirus business restrictions.
The ministry did not provide a breakdown of the type of goods by country, but pointed that the sectors with the greatest weight in exports were capital goods and also food, beverages and tobacco each accounting for about 20% of the total.