The SNP has blasted the UK Tory government on its failure to deliver on its promise to urgently establish a statutory commission to scrutinise future trade deals on behalf of Scotland’s farming sector.
The Tory government promised to establish a new statutory Trade and Agriculture Commission to scrutinise future trade deals and to ensure that farmers and crofters across the UK would not be undercut and squeezed out as a result of any trade deals.
However, amidst concerns from the farming industry that the Australian deal would set a precedent for lower standards and prices for future trade deals, the commission has still not been established.
Commenting, SNP MSP and former sheep farmer Jim Fairlie (pictured) said:
“Farmers and crofters are being left high and dry by the Tories as they continue to fail to protect Scotland’s farmers from being undercut by trade deals.
“This is a race to the bottom on food standards and Scotland’s farming industry is the loser.
“There are real fears within the agriculture sector in Scotland that the Australian deal will form a blueprint for future deals with America and other countries, posing further threats to the very future of our vital, world-class farming and crofting sector.
“Despite the Tories promising to set up a new Trade and Agriculture Commission to scrutinise these deals it is nowhere to be seen and the door is still wide open for deals to undercut the farming sector with lower standards and prices.
“Our Scottish Parliament did not have the opportunity to scrutinise the Australian trade deal, with our concerns being ignored by the Tories.
“This is another demonstration of how the Tories cannot be trusted to protect the interests of the agriculture sector in Scotland.
“The only way we can protect the future of the industry is by becoming and independent country.”