Rural Affairs Secretary comments on UK trade deals.
As the UK Government’s trade deals with Australia and New Zealand enter into force today, 31 May, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon has called on UK Ministers to listen to the devolved governments when negotiating future trade deals. She said:
“These trade deals are not good enough for Scotland’s producers - they have been rushed through and the UK Government’s own economic modelling shows that the agri-food sector will lose out.
“These agreements will provide Australian and New Zealand exporters with unfettered access to the UK market, which could allow an influx of goods, often produced to lower cost and regulatory standards, and which could undercut our domestic agri-food producers.
“By contrast, the EU has secured advantageous terms for the agri-food sector in their trade deal with New Zealand, securing more protective tariff rate quotas and coverage from day one, of over 2000 food and drink products from the EU Geographical Indicator scheme.
“Frustratingly, neither the Scottish Government nor its economic agencies have been involved in the preparation for implementation of these trade deals. Fundamental questions persist regarding the sufficiency of UK Government led training and funding for exporters. This will be vital if exporters are to leverage any advantage possible from these trade deals.
“The UK Government’s approach to Brexit continues to undermine devolution and reneges on promises made ahead of the EU referendum.
“Going forward it is imperative that UK Ministers work constructively with Ministers from the devolved governments and industry to ensure that our agri-food producers are better protected in future trade deals.”
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