Bilateral trade between Germany and Great Britain has weakened significantly in the past year. Even the recovery of the global economy from the corona pandemic was no help for German-British trade in 2021, according to an evaluation by the federal company Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI).
"While the trade volume with all other partners in the top ten in the Corona rebound almost exclusively grew in double digits, trade with the United Kingdom even shrank by 4.6 percent," GTAI expert Marc Lehnfeld told the dpa news agency.
Trade goes against the trend
Trade with Great Britain thus developed contrary to the general trend. Last year, Germany improved its exports by a total of 14 percent compared to 2020 to a record value of 1.38 trillion euros, even exceeding the level of the pre-crisis year 2019.
In the ranking of Germany's most important trading partners, Great Britain slipped from seventh to tenth place. According to Lehnfeld, the country could even slip out of the "top ten" of Germany's most important trading partners if the Federal Statistical Office revises its data for December accordingly. The British lead over the Czech Republic is currently only marginal. "Since German-British trade has been developing sluggishly for years, tenth place should be understood more as a reprieve," said Lehnfeld. "German-Czech trade is developing better in comparison."
Expect more obstacles
Lehnfeld expects further problems that could further inhibit trade. The expert particularly emphasized the British controls on EU imports that were introduced at the beginning of the year. "The forthcoming final stage in the introduction of further customs formalities for food in the summer will put a further strain on German exports to the kingdom," said Lehnfeld.
The UK has not been a member of the EU Customs Union and Single Market since early 2021. The Brexit trade agreement agreed at the last moment ensures freedom from customs duties in most areas. Nevertheless, there are difficulties in trading due to increased bureaucratic requirements.