Newly-released figures from Ireland’s statistics authority have revealed that food imports from the UK mainland, excluding Northern Ireland, were down by 75% in January, the first month in which trading was carried out under new post-Brexit rules.

Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealed today (18 March) that imports of food and live animals from Great Britain were EUR62m (US$73.9m), in January, a fall of 75% year-on-year.

Exports of food and live animals to Great Britain were also hit, falling by one-third to EUR188m.

UK and Irish food companies, agri-food businesses and hauliers carrying their produce have complained about the need for additional pre-export preparation - especially around the shipping of live animals - and more paperwork at customs points since 1 January when the UK left the EU and frictionless trade ended between it and EU member states, including Ireland.

Orla McCarthy, senior statistician at the CSO, said: "Traders reported that a combination of factors contributed to the large reduction in imports from Great Britain in January 2021. These included the challenges of complying with customs requirements. 

"Other factors identified by traders were stockpiling of goods in Q4, 2020 in preparation for Brexit, substitution with goods from other countries, and a reduction in trade volumes due to the impact of Covid-19 related restrictions throughout January."