Categories
Climate Change

The Net Zero Strategy

The UK Government’s Net Zero Strategy was recently released (19 October 2021) and sets out how the UK will deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uks-path-to-net-zero-set-out-in-landmark-strategy

Building on the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan, today’s UK Net Zero Strategy sets out a comprehensive economy-wide plan for how British businesses and consumers will be supported in making the transition to clean energy and green technology – lowering the Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels by investing in sustainable clean energy in the UK, reducing the risk of high and volatile prices in the future, and strengthening our energy security.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

The UK’s path to ending our contribution to climate change will be paved with well-paid jobs, billions in investment and thriving green industries – powering our green industrial revolution across the country. By moving first and taking bold action, we will build a defining competitive edge in electric vehicles, offshore wind, carbon capture technology and more, whilst supporting people and businesses along the way. With the major climate summit COP26 just around the corner, our strategy sets the example for other countries to build back greener too as we lead the charge towards global net zero.

Full details of the strategy are covered in a 368 page document:

Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener (pdf)

Categories
Trade

UK Overseas Trade in Goods, August 2021

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) collects the UK’s international trade in goods data for Non-EU and EU trade with the UK. These are published on a monthly basis and figures for August were released on 13 October 2021.

UK overseas trade in goods statistics: August 2021

A summary document is available at:

UK Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics Commentary: August 2021


Summary

Total exports of goods for August 2021 were £24.0 billion. This was down £2.9 billion (11%) compared with last month.

Total imports of goods for August 2021 were £39.6 billion. This was down £2.6 billion (6.3%) compared with last month.

The UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £15.7 billion.

For EU trade the UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £5.4 billion.

For Non-EU trade the UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £10.2 billion.


Exports from the UK

EU Exports for August 2021 were £11.6 billion This was an decrease of £1.5 billion (11%) on last month.

Non-EU Exports for August 2021 were £12.4 billion. This was an decrease of £1.4 billion (9.9%) on last month.

The USA accounted for 13.5% (£3.2bn) per cent of the total value of goods exports from the UK. Germany had the second largest proportion accounting for 9.2% (£2.2bn) followed by the Netherlands with 8.5% (£2.0bn), the Republic of Ireland with 6.6% (£1.6bn) and France with 5.8% (£1.4bn). The top five export partners accounted for 43.6% of total exports in goods in August 2021.


Imports to the UK

EU Imports for August 2021 were £17.0 billion. This was an decrease of £2.0 billion (11%) on last month

Non-EU Imports for August 2021 were £22.6 billion. This was an decrease of £0.6 billion (2.6%) on last month.

China accounted for 12.9% (£5.1bn) of the total value of imports to the UK. Germany had the second largest proportion of the total value of trade, accounting for 10.4% (£4.1bn) followed by the USA 9.0% (£3.5bn) then the Netherlands 6.1% (£2.4bn) and Belgium 4.7% (£1.9bn). The top five import partner countries accounted for 43.1% of the total value of goods imported in August 2021.


Data

Spreadsheets are available which show the figures in more detail.

UK overseas trade in goods statistics August 2021: import and export data

The following tables contain EU and Non-EU import and export data for August 2021.

UK overseas trade in goods statistics August 2021: imports

UK overseas trade in goods statistics August 2021: exports


Categories
Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol

Northern Ireland Protocol

It looks likely that disagreements between the UK and European Union about the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol will shortly reach a critical point, so here’s my recap.

The Withdrawal Agreement was signed by the UK on 24 January 2020 and sets the terms of the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, agreed by both sides. The Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland is part of this agreement.

Copies can be found at

UK Document(s)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-withdrawal-agreement-and-political-declaration

(Local Copy pdf)

European Union Document(s)

https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/relations-non-eu-countries/relations-united-kingdom/eu-uk-withdrawal-agreement_en

(Local Copy pdf)

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:12019W/TXT(02)&from=EN

The purpose of the Northern Ireland Protocol is to prevent the creation of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland following changes to the trading relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. It is designed to protect the European Unions’ single market.

The Protocol locks Northern Ireland into regulatory alignment with European Union rules. Annex 2 to the Protocol lists more than 280 European Union legislative instruments which are to be applied in Northern Ireland.

Professor Stephen Weatherill, Somerville College and Law Faculty, Oxford University, explores how the Protocol differs between what it says and what it actually does in an article at

https://eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/2020/03/the-protocol-on-ireland-northern.html

(Local Copy pdf)

Having eliminated the requirement for checking goods passing between NI and Ireland checks still have to be performed somewhere – resulting in a hard border between NI and GB.

This is not something that politicians can claim that they weren’t aware of – after all they did sign up to it after due diligence didn’t they ?

As the Government becomes aware of the fact that this may not actually be good for people in Northern Ireland they now want to renegotiate the whole protocol which, of course, the European Union is reluctant to do.

In July, the UK Government presented a paper to the European Union outlining their plans for a way forward

Northern Ireland Protocol Way Forward July2021 (Local Copy pdf)

original from

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1008451/CCS207_CCS0721914902-005_Northern_Ireland_Protocol_Web_Accessible__1_.pdf

The negotiation process has not been helped by the European Union invoking Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol (Jan 2021) in an attempt to stop vaccines made in the European Union from getting into the UK ‘through the back door‘. Although the European Union quickly backtracked, this was perceived as an act of hostility towards the UK and demonstrated that the European Union are prepared to go to any lengths to achieve their aims. This may also indicate that they have little regard toward the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement of 10 April 1998 which they claim to have been at the heart of Protocol on Northern Ireland.

As mentioned in the Government paper

In particular, the EU’s action on 29 January in attempting to use Article 16, without warning or consultation, to establish a vaccine frontier at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland had a dramatic effect on perceptions in Northern Ireland. However quickly withdrawn, it showed to many that the EU prioritised protection ofits Single Market above other elements of the Protocol, at a time of extreme anxiety for many about vaccine supply in the middle of a pandemic. The effects of this action continue to reverberate and have had significant political consequences.

The UK Government has indicated it may invoke Article 16, which is in place to address circumstances where the application of the Protocol has led or would lead to serious societal and economic difficulties liable to persist, or where
diversion of trade is borne out in practice or would occur
, and that the circumstances exist to justify using Article 16.

The invocation of Article 16 would, of course, have dire consequences for the future relationship between the UK and the European Union and could lead to the collapse of the whole Withdrawal Agreement.

To date, the European Union has indicated that they are not prepared to renegotiate any aspect of the existing Protocol, and have thus far refused to respond to the suggestions put forward by the UK Government. Undoubtedly the European Union will present their approach with no room for compromise. Both sides are still in the sabre rattling stage but don’t be surprised when suddenly common ground is found and both sides claim victory for themselves (whatever that means).

– Watch this space

Categories
Trade

UK Overseas Trade in Goods, July 2021

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) collects the UK’s international trade in goods data for Non-EU and EU trade with the UK. These are published on a monthly basis and figures for July were released on 10 September 2021.

UK overseas trade in goods statistics: July 2021

A summary document is available at:

UK Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics Commentary: July 2021


Summary

Total exports of goods for July 2021 were £27.1 billion. This was down £2.2 billion (7.4%) compared with last month.

Total imports of goods for July 2021 were £42.2 billion. This was down £2.4 billion (5.5%) compared with last month.

The UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £15.1 billion.

For EU trade the UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £5.7 billion.

For Non-EU trade the UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £9.4 billion.


Exports from the UK

EU Exports for July 2021 were £13.3 billion This was an decrease of £2.4 billion (15%) on last month.

Non-EU Exports for July 2021 were £13.7 billion. This was an increase of £0.5 billion (3.7%) on last month.

The USA accounted for 14.0% (£3.8bn) per cent of the total value of goods exports from the UK. Germany had the second largest proportion accounting for 9.0% (£2.4bn) followed by the Netherlands with 7.4% (£2.0bn), France with 6.5% (£1.8bn) and the Republic of Ireland with 6.3% (£1.7bn). The top five export partners accounted for 43.2% of total exports in goods in July 2021.


Imports to the UK

EU Imports for July 2021 were £19.1 billion. This was an decrease of £0.2 billion (1.3%) on last month

Non-EU Imports for July 2021 were £23.2 billion. This was an decrease of £2.2 billion (8.6%) on last month.

China accounted for 11.4% (£4.8bn) of the total value of imports to the UK. Germany had the second largest proportion of the total value of trade, accounting for 11.1% (£4.7bn) followed by the USA 8.3% (£3.5bn) then the Netherlands 6.1% (£2.6bn) and Norway 4.7% (£2.0bn). The top five import partner countries accounted for 41.6% of the total value of goods imported in July 2021.


Data

Spreadsheets are available which show the figures in more detail.

UK overseas trade in goods statistics July 2021: import and export data

The following tables contain EU and Non-EU import and export data for July 2021.

UK overseas trade in goods statistics July 2021: imports (xlsx)

UK overseas trade in goods statistics July 2021: exports (xlsx)


Categories
Trade

UK Overseas Trade in Goods, June 2021

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) collects the UK’s international trade in goods data for Non-EU and EU trade with the UK. These are published on a monthly basis and figures for June were released on 12 August 2021.

UK overseas trade in goods statistics: June 2021

A summary document is available at:

UK Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics Commentary: June 2021


Summary

Total exports of goods for June 2021 were £29.3 billion. This was up £1.5 billion (5.5%) compared with last month.

Total imports of goods for June 2021 were £44.6 billion. This was up £5.0 billion (13%) compared with last month.

The UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £15.3 billion.

For EU trade the UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £3.5 billion.

For Non-EU trade the UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £11.8 billion.


Exports from the UK

EU Exports for June 2021 were £15.8 billion This was an increase of £1.7 billion (12%) on last month.

Non-EU Exports for June 2021 were £13.5 billion. This was an decrease of £0.2 billion (1.3%) on last month.

The USA accounted for 11.8% (£3.5bn) per cent of the total value of goods exports from the UK. Germany had the second largest proportion accounting for 9.2% (£2.7bn) followed by Belgium with 7.2% (£2.1bn), the Netherlands with 6.9% (£2.0bn) and the Republic of Ireland with 6.9% (£2.0bn). The top five export partners accounted for 42% of total exports in goods in June 2021.


Imports to the UK

EU Imports for June 2021 were £19.3 billion. This was an increase of £2.2 billion (13%) on last month

Non-EU Imports for June 2021 were £25.3 billion. This was an increase of £2.8 billion (12%) on last month.

China accounted for 11.2% (£5.0bn) of the total value of imports to the UK. Germany had the second largest proportion of the total value of trade, accounting for 10.9% (£4.8bn) followed by the USA 9.3% (£4.1bn) then the Netherlands 6.1% (£2.7bn) and Switzerland 5.1% (£2.3bn). The top five import partner countries accounted for 42.6% of the total value of goods imported in June 2021.


Data

Spreadsheets are available which show the figures in more detail.

UK overseas trade in goods statistics June 2021: import and export data

The following tables contain EU and Non-EU import and export data for June 2021.

UK overseas trade in goods statistics June 2021: imports

UK overseas trade in goods statistics June 2021: exports