School of Business and Economics


18 Oct 2021

Brexit fears started hitting UK trade as early as 2015 – Loughborough Academic finds

Dr. Huw Edwards, Senior Lecturer in Economics Loughborough University’s School of Business and Economics, and member of the Economics Academic Group, has found that fear of Brexit impacted trade in the UK as early as 2015.

Dr. Edwards states that there is evidence that the UK has lost market share in Europe due to Brexit, as the EU’s imports from other countries have picked up following the COVID crisis. Equally, however, there has been some improvement since the end of 2020, with the latest figures showing that exports and imports with the EU in the three months to August 2021 were better than the three months before.

Yet the raw export and import figures alone can only tell you so much about what has happened to British trade, Dr. Edwards writes. You need to disentangle the effects of Brexit from a myriad of other variables that can skew the numbers – not least COVID. This is a complicated problem that will take some time to resolve, even though the large relative fall in UK exports to Europe suggests that Brexit is the main culprit.

New research focuses on long term factors

At the same time, however, it would be wrong to focus too much on 2021 when looking at the effects of Brexit on UK trade.

Dr. Edwards has just published a new paper looking at how it affected UK trade between 2015 and 2018. It shows for the first time that:

  • Fears about Brexit weakened the UK’s trading position long before the vote to leave the EU even took place.
  • It also points to a long-term adjustment in trading relationships that will continue for many years to come.

You can read more here