The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union led to a significant decrease in the mutual trade in livestock and meat. This is based at least on data from the Brussels Commission, which is only available with a time difference of the first two months of 2021 due to Brexit.
Accordingly, meat exports in the European Union including pig, cattle and sheep by-products as well as live animal trade decreased by 27.0% compared to January and February 2020, reaching 164,440 tons of carcass weight.
Imports from the United Kingdom halved to 32,260 tons. If not the first two months of the previous year, but 2019 was used as the benchmark, then the total EU exports of meat and animals decreased by 92 060 tons, or 35.9%.
Affected by all animal species
Then imports from the island decreased by 44,530 tons, or 58.0%. Although only two months of the year are only one part, the trend towards a much lower trade volume in the livestock and meat sector is clearly identifiable.
It is likely that large-scale new bureaucracy and logistical problems in cross-border traffic are the main reasons for this. All animal species have been affected by the decrease in commodity exchange. Pork exports from the European Union to the United Kingdom remained the most significant in January and February 2021 at 112,620 tons.
50% less than sheep and goat meat
However, that was 21.0% lower than the corresponding period of the previous year. The export of live pigs ceased completely during this period. Pork imports from European Union member states from Great Britain fell particularly sharply, by 63.8% to 10275 tonnes.
Britain’s exit from the European Union also resulted in losses in the reciprocal beef trade. European Union exports to Great Britain in this sector decreased by 38.5% to 39,310 tons in the first two months of 2021 compared to the same period of the previous year.
Imports decreased by 47.6% to 12,560 tons. The situation was slightly better for EU imports of sheep and goat meat, which was 27.7% lower than the previous year’s volume at 8,910 tonnes. Less significant exports to the island nearly halved to 2,320 tons.