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PARIS: If trade between Britain and the EU didn't seize up after Brexit, the volume of commercial exchanges was considerably lower last year in comparison with 2019, the French economy ministry said Thursday.

Over the first 10 months of last year, European Union exports to Britain fell by 15 percent by value.

Meanwhile, EU imports of goods from Britain fell by 30 percent over the same period, according to data provided on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting on Brexit one year after a new trade deal between the UK and the bloc came into force.

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The automotive, textile and aeronautics sectors were the worst hit.

The figures must be considered with caution, however, as the Covid-19 pandemic had a major effect on trade flows.

Nevertheless, the EU's imports and exports exceeded 2019 levels during the first ten months of last year, according to Eurostat data.

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The new trade deal between Britain and the EU that took effect at the beginning of 2021 re-established customs checks at the border, creating an administrative burden for transport firms.

It also created delays and added complexity for firms that relied on prompt, regular shipments.

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British retailer Marks & Spencer closed many of its Paris shops after struggling to keep perishables on the shelves.

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