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Economic Report: U.K. trade with the European Union plunges in first quarter after Brexit

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Trade with the European Union plunged in the first quarter after the U.K. exited the customs bloc, according to data released on Tuesday.

The Office for National Statistics reported that U.K. exports in goods contracted by 18% with the European Union, and that imports collapsed by 22%. U.K. trade with the rest of the world was little changed, with exports edging up 0.4% while imports fell 0.9%.

For the first quarter since data began to be tabulated in 1998, imports from non-EU countries surpassed that of EU countries.

The statistics agency cautioned it was too early to make sweeping conclusions. “With only one quarter of data available, and the ongoing pandemic and recession, it is too early to assess the extent to which this reflects short-term trade disruption or longer-term supply chain adjustments,” the ONS said.

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