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Cost of Scottish Food and Drink Exports to Double With Brexit
The industry is afraid that a default to WTO rules could knock us out of European markets.
A failure to agree a trade deal following Brexit could double the price of Scottish food and drink products in Europe, the Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink has warned.
New figures show that Scottish food and drink exports have risen by 56% since the SNP came to office in 2007, rising 8% in just one year.
Exports of Scotland’s food and drink totalled £5.5 billion in 2016, with the year on year rise largely driven by exports to Europe.
Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, James Withers, the head of the industry body, said that he was “afraid” of the consequences of failing to agree a trade deal.
“I’ve heard UK government ministers say we shouldn’t be afraid of leaving the EU without a trade deal.
“Well I am afraid, I have to say.
“Products like Scotch beef, if we defaulted to World Trade Organisation tariffs, the price of that product going into a country like France, which is a huge market for us, could potentially double – and that could knock us out of that market.”
Commenting, SNP MSP Gail Ross said:
“Scotland’s food and drink sector is an enormous success story – but one which is seriously threatened by the prospect of a Tory hard Brexit, leaving our producers, farmers and distillers outside of the single market.
“And while the UK government thinks that leaving the EU without a trade deal would be ‘perfectly okay’, one of Scotland’s most important industries is warning that they’re ‘afraid’ of the consequences – and that defaulting to WTO rules could mean tariffs which would see a doubling of the cost of exports, with Scottish produce left off of Europe’s shelves as a result.
“Not only are the Tories insistent on dragging us out of the single market but they’re unbelievably complacent about securing a trade deal at all.
“Scotland needs to be given the choice of a different future.”
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