Is Brexit Hurting the U.K. Economy? Trade Data Flash a Warning

The global upswing in trade is leaving the U.K. behind, an early sign of the challenge Brexit is presenting its economy, the Wall Street Journal reported. The U.K. formally began its new relationship with the European Union Jan. 1. Before then, and before the Covid-19 pandemic upended world trade, Jason Wouhra’s food wholesale business in England’s West Midlands, Lioncroft Wholesale Ltd., generated up to a quarter of its annual revenue from customers in Spain, Portugal and other markets in the EU. Lioncroft has now stopped exporting to the EU altogether. Sending 300 products to the EU before Brexit was as easy as moving goods within the U.K. Now, Mr. Wouhra said, he would have to pay thousands of dollars to hire a customs agent to assemble the correct information for products to clear customs, and more to actually ship them. “Your profitability is knocked out the window straight away,” he said. Leaving the EU has put the U.K. outside the EU’s vast internal market of 445 million consumers and a customs territory that is bigger still, stretching from the Atlantic to Turkey. It is hobbling trade just as its economy needs all its engines firing to power out of its worst downturn in a century. Read more. (Subscription required.)