Belgian exports of goods to the UK experienced a significant decline following Brexit, as reported on Thursday by KU Leuven. Between 2018 and 2021, these exports saw a notable 13%

decrease. A study evaluating Brexit's trade impact revealed that EU goods exports to the UK were roughly 18% lower compared to pre-Brexit estimations.

Professor Hylke Vandenbussche, specializing in international economics, highlighted that while both the UK and EU incurred losses, the UK's proportional decline was more substantial. Notably, nations outside the EU, like Norway, China, and Russia, augmented their exports to the UK, reaping substantial benefits from the UK's departure.

For Belgium, Vandenbussche's research underscores a €4 billion reduction in goods exports to the UK within the same timeframe. Conversely, trade with other EU nations exhibited consistent growth.

"The actual ramifications of Brexit will unfold gradually," commented Vandenbussche. "Export downturns post-2019 were stark, but a decline was noticeable even from 2016, coinciding with the Brexit referendum, suggesting anticipatory measures by companies before 2018."

Majorly affected by reduced exports were categories such as automobiles, food, and beverages to the UK. Conversely, there were exponential surges in exports of pharmaceuticals, machinery parts, plastic components, optical products, and electric cars post-2019.

Vandenbussche's estimates point to a potential loss of 28,000 to 32,000 jobs in Belgium due to the export downturn. However, this study is an initial assessment, and according to Vandenbussche, the genuine impact of Brexit will become clearer in the years ahead. Photo by ChiralJon, Wikimedia commons.