Free Trade Agreement threat to food supply chain

A plea for the UK government to instigate a ‘more rigorous and meaningful’ process of engagement and consultation with industry around all Free Trade Agreements was among a number of calls made jointly by organisations from across Scotland’s food and drink supply chain.

In a joint letter to the UK’s international trade secretary, Liz Truss 14 organisations, including NFU Scotland spelt out what was required to quell growing fears.

The organisations also called for the response to the Trade and Agriculture Commission’s report to be published and for a swift implementation of its recommendations, particularly in relation to putting it on a statutory footing.

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They stressed that the commission should have a critical role in scrutinising all potential Free Trade Agreements at a meaningful point in the process, prior to any agreements being signed and ratified.

A rigorous assessment of the impact of all the FTAs was also needed – with particular focus on Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US.

“All agreements will have different implications for different sectors across the food and drink industry and it is therefore vital that we are able to understand the full implications rather than looking at individual agreements in isolation,” read the letter.

They stressed the risks were enormous for the whole food and drink supply chain and, lacking any formal impact assessment they remained hugely concerned at the impact on sensitive sectors of the industry – adding while safeguards had been promised, no details had been provided.

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