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 January 2021 have recently been released. (12 March 2021).
Note: Methodology Changes
From 31 December 2020, the free movement of people and goods and services between the UK and the EU ended. This means the way HMRC collects trade in goods statistics has changed, and statistics published from March 2021 onwards will reflect those changes.
UK to EU exports
Up to 31 December 2020, UK to EU export statistics were collected via the Intrastat statistical survey, which required traders to declare the value and volume of commodities exported to EU Member States within the relevant month of physical goods movement.
For goods moving from 1 January 2021, GB to EU export statistics will be compiled direct from customs export declarations made according to the requirements of the Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Act. The customs declaration requirements are more complex than the single monthly aggregated Intrastat return, and can result in differences between dates of declaration and actual movement of the goods out of the country.
The TIGS compilation methodology relies upon the acceptance date of the customs export declaration for its inclusion within the relevant month of account, rather than the declared physical movement date used from the
Intrastat survey returns will, however, continue to be collected for goods exported from Northern Ireland to the EU, under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Both the GB to EU customs export declaration data and NI Intrastat export (dispatch) data will be incorporated into the overall UK to EU export dataset.
As a result of the changes and differences outlined above, there will be a break in the timeseries for published UK to EU export statistics from January 2021. These will not be directly comparable to UK to EU export statistics published for previous months and years.
UK imports from EU
UK imports from EU statistics will not be impacted by any change in 2021. The Intrastat survey continues to operate for all UK (GB and NI) imports (arrivals) from the EU, to mitigate the effects of staging customs controls, and to comply with the Northern Ireland Protocol.
A summary document is available at:
Total exports of goods for January 2021 were £21.2 billion.
(This was DOWN £7.6 billion (26%) compared with last month, and down £7.1 billion (25%) compared with January 2020.)
Total imports of goods for January 2021 were £35.5 billion (This was down £9.2 billion (21%) compared with last month, and down £6.0 billion (14%) compared with January 2020.)
The UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £14.3 billion.
For EU trade the UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £7.3 billion.
For Non-EU trade the UK was a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £7.0 billion.
Exports from the UK
EU Exports for January 2021 were £7.8 billion (This was a decrease of £5.8 billion (43%) on last month, and a decrease of £5.9 billion (43%) compared with January 2020).
Non-EU Exports for January 2021 were £13.4 billion. (This was a decrease of £1.8 billion (12%) on last month, and a decrease of £1.2 billion (8.1%) compared with January 2020.)
The USA accounted for 15.5% (£3.3bn) per cent of the total value of goods exports from the UK. Germany had the second largest proportion accounting for 7.8% (£1.6bn) followed by the Switzerland with 6.5% (£1.4bn), China with 6.0% (£1.3bn) and the Netherlands with 5.9% (£1.3bn). The top five export partners accounted for 41.7% of total exports in goods this month.
Imports to the UK
EU Imports for January 2021 were £15.1 billion. (This was a decrease of £7.4 billion (33%) on last month, and a decrease of £4.1 billion (21%) compared with January 2020.).
Non-EU Imports for January 2021 were £20.4 billion. (This was a decrease of £1.9 billion (8.3%) on last month, and a decrease of £1.8 billion (8.2%) compared with January 2020.)
China accounted for 13.5% (£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 10.2% (£3.6bn) followed by the USA 8.7% (£3.1bn) then the Netherlands 6.6% (£2.3bn) and Norway 4.4% (£1.6bn). The top five partner countries accounted for 43.4% of total UK import value this month.
Spreadsheets are available which show the figures in more detail.
The following tables contain EU and Non-EU import and export data for January 2021.
The Brexit affect on Trade?
UK Exports and Imports from the top 10 countries for January 2021