The UK is still dependent on trade with the EU seven years on from Brexit, according to a new report.
A trade tracker has found that the EU accounts for 53% of all UK trade.
The report, published by the think tank UK In a Changing Europe, says Britain’s trade with the EU continued to rise in 2023.
And is now at a level not seen since before the Brexit referendum.
The report points out that new deals with non-EU countries has failed to allow the UK to reduce its dependence on Europe.
Author Stephen Hunsaker said: “As yet, the UK has been unable to defy gravity – the well-established fact that trade with your neighbours is easier than trade with the other side of the world.”
The report points out that the much-anticipated deals with Australia and New Zealand currently make up less than 1% of the country’s trade.
Although the UK has also joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which is a trade agreement involving countries such as Malaysia, Japan and Peru, it does not look likely to move away from trading with the EU.
Bigger deals with countries like India and the US could make more of a difference, the report says.
However it pointed out that the UK and India have yet to reach an agreement, and there is no prospect of negotiation with the US in the near future.
It does caution that European trade could be affected if Britain goes ahead with implementing a new border regime to introduce checks on food, animal and plant products from the EU.
It is part of the Trade and Co-Operation Agreement and the EU has introduced checks on goods from Britain but its government has put off introducing the controls five times due to fears over how it would effect the economy.
It is due to be finally launched on 31 January.