UK trade with EU falls by 23% in first quarter as Brexit and Covid hit

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Continental imports and exports plunge in first three months of 2021 against pre-pandemic levels, as China soars

UK trade with the EU collapsed by nearly a quarter at the start of 2021 compared with three years before as Brexit and Covid-19 disruption hit exports, while China replaced Germany as the biggest single import market, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics said total trade in goods – which includes imports and exports – with EU countries fell by 23.1% in the first three months of the year, compared with the first quarter of 2018 before the pandemic began and before Brexit uncertainty became marked.

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