French exports to Britain picked up 4% in February but were still at only 84% of the monthly average of the second half of 2020, as post-Brexit trade rules continued to impact commercial flows, customs data has revealed.
France is one of Britain's most important trading partners within the European Union and many economists forecast that Britain's exit from the world's largest free trade area will prove to be a long-term drag on its growth.
Britain's statistics office said in March that the COVID-19 pandemic made it hard to quantify the Brexit impact from the new customs arrangements.
Post-Brexit Import Checks
Britain last month delayed the introduction of a range of post-Brexit import checks on goods from the EU by around six months, saying businesses needed more time to prepare because of the impact of the pandemic.
French imports from Britain jumped 27% to €1.48 billion in February, returning to a level just shy of the monthly average during the second half of 2020.
Overall, France's trade deficit widened to a seasonally adjusted €5.25 billion from €4.19 billion in January, led by a fall in the exports of aircraft, pharmaceuticals and manufactured goods.
Elsewhere, German exports to the United Kingdom fell by 30% on the year in January as the impact of Brexit turned Europe's largest economy away from the UK, exacerbating the hit to business from the coronavirus pandemic.
The Statistics Office attributed the January slump to 'the effects of Brexit after the year 2020, which was marked by the Corona pandemic.'