£1.13bn exports to EU dominate Sheffield trade

Businesses in Sheffield exported more than £1 billion worth of goods to the EU last year, new figures show – as business bodies continued to warn of the cost of a disorderly ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 5:52 pm
British-EU exports.

The latest trade figures from HM Revenue and Customs show 1,329 firms registered in the Sheffield area exported goods to countries in the European Union during 2018, with combined sales of £1.13 billion.

Sales to the ‘rest of the world’ brought in £712 million over the course of the year.

It means trade with the 27 EU member states was worth 1.6 times more to local businesses than trade with the non-EU countries.

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The figures only include trade in goods, and not services.

More businesses in Sheffield export to EU countries than to rest of the world – 1,329 compared to 1,168.

Across the UK, more than 120,000 companies exported £170 billion worth of goods to the EU in 2018, with more businesses exporting within the bloc than outside of it in every region of the country.

Brexit has dominated the general election campaign, with the main parties clashing over the UK's future relationship with the EU.

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has agreed a withdrawal agreement with the EU – yet to be approved by Parliament – a no-deal Brexit still remains the default option if a trade deal is not agreed in the ensuing transition period, currently set to end on December 31 2020.

Business bodies including the British Chambers of Commerce and the Confederation of British Industry have warned about the threat a disorderly Brexit, as well as the introduction of tariffs if the UK leaves the customs union.

The CBI says Yorkshire and the Humber would be particularly vulnerable in the event of a no-deal, which could force local businesses “to make more difficult choices and faster than those in the rest of the country.”

It predicts failure to strike a deal could result in a 10 per cent drop in the value of goods and services produced in the region by 2034, which would be an annual loss of £12 billion in today’s prices.