Trade Secretary celebrates fall in UK trade

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch is facing criticism after citing the UK's poor trading performance under her watch as evidence that Brexit has not had a negative impact on UK trade.

Her comments, made in a speech to mark the beginning of the Government's Trade Week, were informed by a new report from right-wing think tank the Institute for Economic Affairs.

In the press release advertising the report, the IEA claimed that 'UK goods exports rose by 13.5 per cent to EU countries and 14.3 per cent to non-EU countries between 2019 and 2022', a statistic which was covered in a number of media outlets.

However, in the report itself, the IEA shows that when adjusted for inflation, the value of UK exports had fallen significantly in this period, down 7.2 per cent to the EU and 9.8 per cent to the rest of the world.

Campaigners have hit out at the Trade Secretary for citing the misleading story and highlighting any fall in trade as something to celebrate. 

Naomi Smith, Chief Executive of Best for Britain said,  

“Where once she promised Brexit benefits, the Trade Secretary is now shamefully celebrating an overall fall in UK exports, as a fig leaf for the damaging impact of the government's botched Brexit deal.

“While this downturn was not exclusively caused by Brexit, countless export businesses have described the crippling impact of new red tape, delays and labour shortages from our withdrawal from the EU, something that the next government must remedy by removing trade barriers and aligning with our largest market where beneficial."