THE SNP have said “independence is the only way to keep Scotland safe from the long-term damage of Brexit” as new data shows the UK is the only EU trading partner to see its exports to the EU fall in the first half of 2021, following Boris Johnson's "disastrous" Brexit.

Analysis from Eurostat found exports from the UK to the EU fell by €16billion (-17.1%) in the first seven months this year, since the Brexit deal, compared to the first half of 2020.

In contrast, every other major trading partner increased its exports to the EU, including Russia (+41.2%), Norway (+36.5%), India (+33%), Turkey (+26%), South Korea (+23.6%), China (+13.4%), Japan (+12%), Switzerland (+8.6%) and the United States (+5.4%).

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At the same time, the EU increased its exports to the UK with the Eurostat analysis showing an increase of €9.3bn in exports (+6.2%) - widening the EU's trade surplus with the UK post-Brexit from €56.7bn to €82.1bn - an increase of +44.8%.

It follows analysis from the House of Commons Library, using IMF data, which revealed the UK is the only country in north west Europe to have suffered a fall in exports since the 2016 Brexit vote.

While Ireland saw a +48.1% increase in the volume of exports of goods and services between 2016 and 2021, the UK saw its exports fall by -5.5% over the same period.

Commenting, SNP international trade spokesperson Drew Hendry MP said: “The only way to keep Sotland safe from the long-term damage of Brexit is to become an independent country, with the full powers needed to regain our place in Europe, boost trade and grow our economy.

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"With each passing day, the devastating cost of Boris Johnson’s hard Tory Brexit deal becomes clearer - as the Scottish and UK economies lose billions of pounds in trade.

"Scotland didn't vote for Brexit but we are being made to pay a high price.

"Scottish businesses are losing millions a week, and Brexit is projected to cost the Scottish economy £9billion by 2030 compared to EU membership - the equivalent of £1,600 for every person.

"All the promises made to Scotland by Boris Johnson's Brexiteers have been broken. We were promised sunny uplands but instead we've got empty shelves, rising costs, critical staffing shortages, food rotting in the fields, businesses losing trade, and mountains of red tape."

A UK Government Spokesperson said: “From January-June this year exports to the EU have been rising consistently, and in June they were higher than the yearly average in both 2020 and 2019. 

“While July’s figures show a dip in exports to the EU, the continued impact of the Covid pandemic across Europe means that trade flows remain volatile.

“As the ONS recognises, it is still too early to draw any firm conclusions on the long-term impacts of our new trading relationship with the EU”