Brexit trade deals: Scotland’s producers deserve better than ‘rushed through’ trade deals, says Scottish minister
The UK’s trade deals are not good enough for Scotland’s producers, a Scottish minister has said, as new post-Brexit international agreements come into force.
Since formally separating from the EU in January 2020, Britain signed trade deals and agreements in principle with some 71 countries, most of those being “rollover agreements”.
But, according to policy experts, it is the deals with the two South Pacific countries, which were made from scratch, that will see “significant changes” to UK trade relations.
Ms Gougeon described these new agreements as “rushed through” and “not good enough for Scotland’s producers”. She said the UK government’s own economic modelling showed the agri-food sector “will lose out”.
“These deals 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,” the minister said.
“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 2,000 food and drink products from the EU Geographical Indicator scheme.”
Ms Gougeon took aim at the UK government for not including Scotland in the trade deal discussions and insisted UK ministers listen to devolved nations for future international trade agreements.
“Frustratingly, neither the Scottish Government nor its economic agencies have been involved in the preparation for implementation of these trade deals,” she said.
"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.”
She went on to criticise the UK government’s approach to Brexit, insisting it “continues to undermine devolution and reneges on promises made ahead of the EU referendum”.
Ms Gougeon added: “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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