“You have to accept we will need some friction. We will minimise it but it is an inevitability of our departure”

Michael Gove, Cabinet Office Event

February 10, 2020

Facts

In an article for the Daily Telegraph when he was foreign secretary, Boris Johnson had promised “frictionless trade” with the EU. 

However, since the UK left the EU single market and customs union on 31st December 2020, there has been significant friction in our trade with the rest of the world.

Official UK figures published in March 2021 showed the UK recorded a record fall in trade with the EU in January 2021, as the economy struggled with post-Brexit rules and the pandemic.

Goods exports plunged by 41% and imports by 29% as the UK's departure from the EU's single market had a major impact, as did additional bureaucracy and sometimes unexpected costs and taxes.

Nearly a quarter of small UK firms surveyed said they had temporarily halted sales with the EU because of post-Brexit rules, according to a report by the Federation of Small Businesses in late March.

Figures released on March 18th 2021 by Ireland's Central Statistics Office said imports from Great Britain fell by 65% in January 2021 compared to a year earlier. Recent German figures showed imports from the UK dropped by 56%, while exports were down by nearly a third.

Trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland has also experienced new barriers under divorce deal arrangements designed to protect an open north-south border on the island of Ireland. The EU has begun legal action against the UK after the British government unilaterally extended a grace period on some food checks.

Johnson’s promise was further shown to be empty when, three years after his promise of “frictionless trade” , Gove said:  “you have to accept we will need some friction. We will minimise it but it is an inevitability of our departure”.

Verdict

One more example of Boris Johnson misleading the public about the effect of Brexit trading arrangements.

PreviousNext