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Latvia's trade with UK nosedives as Brexit takes effect

The United Kingdom's exit from the European single market coincided with a vertiginous decline in trade with Latvia, according to data published by the Central Statistics Bureau (CSB) on March 12.

Though the island kingdom formally left the EU in January 2020, it remained in the single economic zone during a transition period that ended when 2021 arrived, and data suggest the impact was immediate.

"In January this year, compared to January 2020, imports of goods from the United Kingdom reduced by EUR 24.3 million or 83.5 %, which might have been affected by the fact that as of January 2021 foreign trade in goods with the United Kingdom is subject to customs supervision and control, but, compared to the previous month – by EUR 43.2 million or 90 %. A drop was observed in all foreign trade commodity groups," the CSB noted.

Latvia-UK trade January 2021

The decline in trade with the former EU member state was far steeper than with any other countries. In January, the main export partners of Latvia in trade with EU countries were Lithuania (16.8 % of total exports), Estonia (12.4 %), Germany (7.2 %) and Denmark (5.9 %), whereas the main import partners were Lithuania (17.1 % of total imports), Germany (9.9 %), Poland (9.6 %) and Estonia (9.1 %).

Russia was the main export partner in trade with third countries; its share in total Latvian exports in January accounted for 8 %, whereas in imports – for 7.5 %.

Despite the UK's disappearance from the bloc, in January 2021, compared to January 2020, the share of European Union countries in total exports value remained the same (68.9 % of total exports value), but in import value it fell by 2.3 percentage points.

In December 2020 the UK was Latvia's fourth-largest export partner. In January 2021 it was the sixth-largest, having been overtaken by EU members Germany and Denmark.

In December 2020 the UK was Latvia's tenth-largest import partner. In January it no longer made the top ten, having been edged out by Italy.

Latvia import trading partners January 2021
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