Spanish olive oil exports to the United Kingdom fell by 35 percent in the first two months of the year compared to the same period in 2020, according to Spain’s Union of Farmers and Livestock Unions.
The figures represent the first analysis of the impact of the post-Brexit trade deal between the European Union and London on Spanish agri-food exports to the U.K. The Union of Farmers and Livestock Unions warned that further sharp decreases in exports can be expected due to sanitary and phytosanitary requirements that came into effect in April.See Also: Trade News
The Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which was fully ratified in April but has been provisionally operational since January, is the result of years of negotiations aimed at maintaining tariff and quota-free trade in the wake of Brexit.
While the agreement may avoid the imposition of tariffs, it has greatly increased the amount of paperwork required to trade with the U.K. as a non‑E.U. member.
According to figures released by the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics in March, imports from the E.U. fell by 28 percent in the first two months of the year as additional checks and bureaucratic hurdles impeded the free flow of products.
Total Spanish agri-food exports fell by 4.9 percent during the period, with sales of fats and oils being hit particularly hard, including the 35-percent drop in olive oil shipments.
According to the Union of Farmers and Livestock Unions, which is calling on the Spanish government to assist exporters, a new requirement for phytosanitary certificates and border checks will further slow down shipments and add to the cost and bureaucracy of post-Brexit trading.
“In the opinion of the Union of Unions, the state diplomatic services should act to reestablish and consolidate these commercial flows, encouraging the purchase of Spanish products by British citizens and companies,” the group said.
The U.K. imported about €137 million worth of Spanish olive oil in 2020, making it Spain’s fifth-largest export market.