EU producers cut out, as new sea route opens up post-Brexit trade

Bypassing the EU, Morocco shows how Brexit can benefit the British consumer and exporters

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2022

Kingdom of Morocco engages with Britain as Brexit opens up trade to benefit of both countries

Although Morocco has long had a trading relationship with Britain there were limitations placed automatically on it by an EU trade agreement that involved EU tariffs and quotas. Now, post-Brexit, the bilateral relationship is direct and can more easily evolve – with benefits for both countries.

The overall result is greater trade, more competitive prices, availability of new Moroccan products specifically developed to suit the British market, export opportunities for British companies (such as cars and mining) and the opening up of new infrastructure to cater for the growing trade.

New sea route cuts out EU mainland

To cope with the growing trade a new direct sea route was established between Tangier and Poole by British shipping company United Seaways last summer, sailing both ways once a week and reducing the transport time from six to three days. The roll-on roll-off service guarantees greater freshness of produce and availability on the shelves of markets and supermarkets across the UK.

It not only means avoiding other regular delays in ferry routes via France, but also brings business to Poole and reduces congestion in the ports around Britain’s South East coast.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Benefits for Poole and for the rest of the UK

Commenting, Captain Brian Murphy, Marine and Port Director at Poole Harbour Commissioners said:

“The service will provide a greener and more time efficient option for importers and exporters from both kingdoms.”

“The Port of Poole has been working closely with United Seaways to get this ‘Brexit Buster’ service up and running.

“The service will provide a greener and more time efficient option for importers and exporters from both kingdoms.”

- Captain Brian Murphy, Poole Harbour Commissioners

Courgette sales flourish and Moroccan strawberries are ripe for the picking

Some of the trade growth is truly staggering – such as the export of Moroccan courgettes to the UK increasing from 95 tons in January 2020, to 878 tons in January 2021, an increase of 822%. Moroccan strawberries have also seen a huge increase, from 231 tons in January 2020, to 1,292 tons in January 2021, a growth of 459% according to official UK government statistics.

The latest official data for trade in goods only show that UK exports of goods to Morocco increased by 27.3% in the 12 months to October 2021 compared to the same period the previous year. UK imports of goods from Morocco increased by 55.4% over the same period.

UK trade exports to Morocco growing over four times faster than to EU27

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

UK trade exports to Morocco rising 4.4 times faster than to the EU27

  • Increase in UK exports to Morocco : 27.31%
  • Increase in UK exports to EU27 : 6.15%

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2022 - click to enlarge

Of all UK imports from Morocco in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2021, £841 million (84.8%) were goods and £151 million (15.2%) were services. The importation of Moroccan goods increased by 34.1% or £214 million compared to the end of Q2 2020. Unsurprisingly, trade in services was heavily distorted by Covid restrictions and both imports and exports of services fell.

Comparable imports of Moroccan produce for January 2021 grew by 51% compared to January 2020, from 20,236 tons to 30,648, according to HMRC figures, Despite the pandemic, people still need to eat! The data for January 2022, after the opening of the sea route, are keenly awaited later this year.

“No EU intermediaries,” says shipping company boss

“The new sea route will allow British businesses to source direct from Morocco and Africa with no intermediaries between countries, so this will permit a smooth and more efficient way to conduct business.

“Most exports from the UK tend to go overland which takes longer and means congestion, customs, environmental impact and wear and tear on vehicles. The companies that we have spoken to believe this route will allow them to grow their trade exponentially.

“Many British goods are well priced and can easily compete with Spanish and French products as they are of very high quality. After arrival in Tanger-Med, travelling by road means products could be in Dakar just a few days later.”

- United Seaways managing director Zeyd Fassi Fehri

Both governments’ trade advisers in London and Rabat are already seeking to improve the rolled-over trading agreement introduced on 1st January 2021.


Critics of Brexit like to point to problems for some traders in the EU possibly losing interest in the UK market and immediately default to the result being rising prices and empty shelves. It never seems to occur to them that EU produce can and will be displaced by more open competition where the consumer can decide his or her preference.

EU produce can be beaten on price and quality now that British trading relationships can open up.

The Kingdom of Morocco has not sat back. In October 2021 it launched its own trade initiative by starting its first agricultural and seafood export campaign specifically targeting the UK, called ‘FromMoroccotoUK’.

True, Moroccan fresh fruits and vegetables are nothing new to the UK – citrus, blueberries, tomatoes and more are already available in supermarkets – but Morocco has significantly modernized its agriculture and food industry over the last decade so it can compete on quality as well as price.

The Moroccans are confident their high-quality fruit and vegetables as well as competitive pricing will see them gain greater market share at the cost of EU suppliers such as the Dutch and Spanish suppliers. The decision will now rest with British consumers rather than Brussels’ bureaucrats.

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[ Sources: Dept for International Trade | ONS | HMRC | Poole Harbour Commissioners | United Seaways ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Mon 10 Jan 2022

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