Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has said that today’s release of Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures on EU trade make clear the structural harm caused by new economic barriers.
The ONS has found that total trade in goods, including imports and exports, with EU countries fell by 23.1% in the first three months of 2021 compared with the first quarter of 2018. Trade with countries outside the EU fell by just 0.8% over the same period.
Mr Carmichael said:
“These Office of National Statistics figures make it clear that the signs of plummeting EU trade seen at the beginning of the year were no fluke and no mere teething problems. As time goes on we are only seeing more evidence of the harm that these structural blockages are causing.
“We may have left the EU but there is no reason why the government had to put up the plethora of barriers to trade with our business partners that it has. Almost every day I hear new concerns from constituents who are losing business or having to spend more to get products from Europe. It did not have to be this way – and I will keep pushing the government to pursue a more pragmatic approach and reduce this Brexit red tape.”
“Some argue the harm of Brexit is a reason to pursue more separation. These figures, however, should be a warning of the economic damage that comes from forcing new barriers between people and businesses. Economic reports already suggest that independence would be many times worse for trade – today’s 23% drop may look like a drop in the bucket by comparison.”