Goodbye Boris, Goodbye

boris jonhson

Brexit – the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union – was the great political attraction of Boris Johnson’s era as British Prime Minister. However, its effects have been disastrous for international trade, especially for Spain.

As the daily Expanión explains, Brexit, Boris Johnson’s great electoral claim, has taken away 18 billion euros in trade between the United Kingdom and Spain. In 2021, the first full year of Brexit, UK exports of goods and services to Spain totalled 13.097 billion pounds (around 15.300 billion euros). This is even less than the 14.132 billion pounds in 2020, at the height of the pandemic. And it is a far cry from the record 19.5 billion pounds reached in 2019, before Covid and Brexit.

In terms of UK imports of goods and services from Spain, something similar is happening. In 2021, shipments from Spain to the UK totalled £22.436 billion (€26.2 billion). Trade from Spain to the UK in 2021 was similar to that of 2020 (£22.2 billion).

In other words, Brexit has prevented trade from recovering from the pandemic and the 2021 figures are a far cry from Spain’s record foreign trade with the UK in 2019, with a figure of £31.6 billion.

Between what has been lost in imports and exports to either side since 2019, overall trade between the UK and Spain is now 18 billion euros smaller than in 2019, according to data from the British government agency Office of National Statistics.

Spain is amongst the six European countries with the most trade with the UK, behind the Netherlands, Germany, France, Ireland and Italy.

UK exports to the whole world totalled 625.374 billion pounds in 2021, slightly more than the 609.897 billion in 2020, at the height of the pandemic. But a far cry from the 699.250 billion pounds in 2019, before Covid. In imports, the UK totalled £654.481 billion in 2021, up from £603.541 billion in 2020 and compared with £719.938 billion in 2019.

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The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.