Canadian cereal and Dutch veg replaces imports from Britain in post-Brexit trade shake-up

Canadian cereal and Dutch veg replaces imports from Britain in post-Brexit trade shake-up
Ireland has replaced British food, steel and fertiliser imports in the trade disruption caused by Brexit.

Figures from Ireland’s maritime agency show how trading patterns shifted after Brexit last year, with a 36pc drop in British cereal imports compensated for by a 34pc rise in Canadian imports.

British fruit and vegetable imports fell 52pc in 2021, compared with 2020, while similar products sourced from the Netherlands grew 42pc.

Ireland is also getting more non-agricultural fertiliser from the Netherlands (+62pc) compared with Britain (-57pc), the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) said.

Iron and steel imports from Spain were up 108pc last year, while imports from Britain fell 34pc.

The EU imposes a quota on imports of steel from outside the bloc, with 25pc tariffs applying once quarterly limits are reached.

Meanwhile, imports of dairy products and eggs from Britain fell by over 140,000 tonnes last year, compared with 2020, while car imports were down by 156,000 tonnes, the IMDO said.

Britain’s share of Irish imports of non-energy products almost halved between 2020 and 2021, after the Brexit trade deal came into force, the IMDO said.

In 2020, Britain had a 27pc share of Irish non-energy imports, by tonnage. That fell to 15pc in 2021.

But Northern Ireland’s share of Ireland’s non-energy imports rose from 11pc to 14pc in the same period.

There are no restrictions on trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland under the protocol to the UK’s 2019 EU exit deal, which effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.

Northern Irish ports are also benefitting from ongoing opt-outs on trade with mainland Britain under the protocol, as companies seek to avoid extra import controls in Dublin.

The IMDO’s Irish Maritime Transport Economist report confirms data from Dublin Port and the Economic and Social Research Institute showing Ireland’s trade with mainland Britain has dropped around 20pc since Brexit.

That has been offset by a rise in freight traffic to European ports and a rise in imports from Northern Ireland, which grew by 25pc in 2021, by 572,000 tonnes, the IMDO said.

“It is clear that haulage companies based in Northern Ireland have transferred significant volumes of traffic away from [roll on, roll off] services in the Republic of Ireland in 2021,” the IMDO report said.