Brexit cost EUR 1 bln in Polish-UK trade say analysts

Losses in British-Polish trade following Britain’s exit from the European Union amount to an estimated EUR 1 billion, the Polish Economic Institute has reported.

The institute (PIE) drew attention to the fact that in the first quarter of 2021, trade turnover between Poland and the UK was EUR 840 million lower than in the analogous period in 2020. However, to eliminate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on Polish-British trade, analysts said it was worth referring to data from 2019.

"In comparison to the first quarter of 2019, turnover during the first three months fell by EUR 1,062 million," PIE analysts said, adding that in terms of value the greatest declines were seen in exports, which were EUR 634 million lower than in 2019, while imports fell by EUR 427 million. "The scale of the drop, however, was greater in imports, which were reduced by 30 percent while Polish exports to Great Britain fell by 16 percent."

Part of the losses, PIE explained, are related to excess purchases made at the end of 2020 on both sides of the English Channel. "British and EU importers built up reserves before the expected introduction of trade restrictions on the border," PIE said, also drawing attention to a noticeable slowdown in trade with the United Kingdom in March 2021.

The hardest-hit Polish exports were automotive products (down 37 percent compared to Q1, 2019) other machinery and equipment (down 16 percent) and electrical devices (down 14 percent). "Only furniture fared better, of which exports to the UK grew by 4.3 percent in 2021 compared to 2019," PIE noted.

PIE indicated that it was difficult to verify the scale of losses resulting from Britain leaving the common market. "The difference compared to 2019 may be proved in the coming months but at the same time a growth might be expected due to the re-opening of economies," PIE commented.