UK set to drop out of Germany's top 10 trading partners for first time since 1950s

Flags of Europe and United Kingdom
The UK is set to drop out of Germany's top 10 trading partners, as a the realignment continues following Brexit. Photo: PA

The UK is set to drop from the list of the top 10 trading partners for Germany by 2022 for the first time since the 1950s, new figures have shown.

According to the Federal Statistics Office, in the first half of 2021, Germany decreased its spend on British goods by £13.8bn ($19bn), or about 11%.

By 2022, the UK looks to be on course for the 11th spot in terms of trade with Europe's largest economy.

Before Brexit in 2016, the UK was Germany's fifth most important trading partner.

Sectors that face particular hardships as a result of the drop are agriculture and pharmaceuticals. Imports to Germany from the UK are down by 80% and 50% respectively, the data show.

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When Brexit originally set in both imports and exports were hit by new border formality. A last-minute deal was struck in December supposedly ensuring tariff-free trade.

Some sectors have seen an improvement since then, however officials have since said that issues run deeper than the initial teething problems highlighted at the time.

The start of 2021 saw a historic realignment of trade in Britain, as UK imports from the rest of the world overtook imports from the European Union for the first time since records began.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that imports of goods from the rest of the world in the first quarter of 2021 were higher than EU imports for the first time since it began collecting data in 1997.

Trade with the EU fell by £18.4bn ($26bn) in the first three months of the year. At the time, economists and analysts said it was unclear whether the shift would be permanent.

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