Trade with the UK was hit hard in January. Imports were less than half compared to January of last year (-54.4 percent), and exports were more than a third (-35 percent). This became clear from the figures of the National Bank on Monday.
The retreat is not a surprise. It is the result of Brexit: January was the first month that free movement of goods with the United Kingdom ended and new border measures were needed. The National Bank notes in a press release that “it remains to be seen whether this is a temporary effect and whether this can be fully attributed to the new border measures.” Late last year when many companies anticipated potential border problems and replenished their stockpile the impact of Brexit, the British Statistical Office said on Friday that trade between the United Kingdom and the European Union had seen a record decline and the impact of Brexit was also reflected in the total Belgian trade figures. In January. Imports decreased by 16.1% from January 2020, and exports decreased by 11.7%. Trade with most partner countries remained negative, according to the National Bank, and China is an exception: trade with this country remained strong thanks to the growth in trade in medicines. In terms of product categories, the metals and energy products sector still performed poorly, with another increase in December: +1.4 percent for imports and +3.7 percent for exports.