THE UK has “missed out on much of the recovery in global trade” following the pandemic likely as a result of Brexit, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has said.

The analysis from the statutory body, which is tasked with providing government with independent data, came in its “Economic and fiscal outlook” report published on Wednesday.

As well as looking at key areas such as inflation, GDP, and borrowing, the report looked into the latest evidence on the impact of Brexit on UK trade.

The OBR stated that UK good exports to the EU were down by 18 per cent on 2019 levels (Brexit happened on January 31, 2020).

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It adds that there is “little sign to date” of UK goods exports to non-EU countries making up for lower exports to the EU.

The OBR report goes on: “Comparing our recent overall trade performance with other advanced economies suggests that the UK saw a similar collapse in exports as other countries at the start of the pandemic but has since missed out on much of the recovery in global trade.”

Cited as evidence for this statement is a report from John Springford, the deputy director of the Centre for European Reform in London. Entitled “The Cost of Brexit: December 2021”, the report found a weak overall UK goods export performance compared to if the UK had stayed in the EU.

The OBR report continues: “UK and aggregate advanced economy goods export volumes fell by around 20 per cent during the initial wave of the pandemic in 2020. But by the fourth quarter of 2021 total advanced economy trade volumes had rebounded to 3 per cent above their pre-pandemic levels while UK exports remain around 12 per cent below.

“The UK therefore appears to have become a less trade intensive economy, with trade as a share of GDP falling 12 per cent since 2019, two and a half times more than in any other G7 country.”

The report says that “Brexit-related effects” are likely to include the fact that the UK is a relatively small market for individual EU exporters, “so it may not be worth” the cost of continuing to export to the UK.

The OBR cites a survey of German firms which found that 17 per cent of them had ceased importing goods to the UK post-Brexit “at least temporarily”.

Elsewhere, it found that imports from the EU had fallen by a larger percentage than exports to the EU. It states: “In the fourth quarter of 2021, goods imports from the EU were down 18 per cent on 2019 levels, double the 9 per cent fall in goods exports to the EU.”

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It goes on: “While additional trade with other countries could offset some of the decline in trade with the EU, none of the agreements concluded to date are of a sufficient scale to have a material impact on our forecast.

“The Government’s own estimate of the economic impact of the free-trade agreement with Australia, the first to be concluded with a country that does not have a similar arrangement with the EU, is that it would raise total UK exports by 0.4 per cent, imports by 0.4 per cent and the level of GDP by only 0.1 per cent over 15 years.”

In reference to the New Zealand trade deal, the OBR said any economic impacts are likely to be “negligible” in the next five years, adding that the Government’s own data estimated a rise “of real GDP in 2035 by between 0.023 and 0.034 per cent” as a result of the agreement.