Wednesday, 18 August 2021
By Kat Jack
The latest trade figures show UK exports of dairy products[i] were 11% lower in the first half of 2021 than in Jan-Jun 2020, and imports were 12% lower in the same period. This has been primarily driven by trade disruption following the new trade regulations brought in by EU exit, as well as the lingering effects of pandemic lockdowns on import demand and supply chain disruption.
For the Jan-Jun period, imports and exports of all major categories were down year-on-year, with the exception of the ‘milk and cream’ category. This category was up 2% year on year for exports, while imports were up 17% on the year. This is mainly driven by milk crossing the Irish border.
Earlier this year, we noted that the UK had its first multi-month Cheddar trade surplus with the EU, which was maintained from January through to May. This trade surplus has not been maintained into June, slipping to a small 585 tonne deficit for the Jan-Jun period. However, on a more positive note, exports of Cheddar to non-EU countries have been strong in H1 2021, so we are still in surplus for total Cheddar trade. H1 Cheddar exports to non-EU countries totalled 10.6k tonnes in 2021, 8.7k tonnes in 2020 and 9.2k tonnes in 2019.
[i] HS codes 0401-0406. Includes milk crossing the Irish border for processing.
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