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The Highland Times

News From and Around The Highlands of Scotland

UK Signs Free Trade Deal with Australia

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The UK has signed a free trade deal with Australia.

Commenting on the announcement, A Scottish Government spokesperson said:

“We have not had a direct role in these negotiations and only saw the complete agreement and the UK Government’s Impact Assessment on Wednesday 15 December.

“This is unacceptable, as is the fact that the Scottish Parliament will have no say in scrutinising and approving this deal.

“We have always expressed our concern that this deal would be bad for Scotland’s farming communities.

“The UK Government has opened the door to imports of Australian beef and lamb produced cheaper and to lower animal welfare standards, directly impacting on Scotland’s farmers, crofters and food producers. 

“We call on the UK Government to ensure that any Australian imports are produced to equivalent animal welfare and environmental standards to those that Scottish farmers adhere to.

“It is concerning that the text lacks commitments to specific temperature goals in respect of the Paris Agreement, while the UK Government’s own impact assessment suggests the deal will lead to an increase in carbon emissions from transport, going directly against our goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2045.

“This deal will in no way compensate for the economic impact of Brexit.

“The UK Government’s own economic modelling suggested that this deal will increase UK GDP by a mere 0.08%, while UK Government analysis has suggested that Brexit would lead to a 4.9% contraction of UK GDP.

“Modelling also shows agriculture and semi-processed food sectors are expected to lose out as a result of this deal.

“While there may be some opportunities for sectors, including whisky, it is important that these don’t come at the expense of Scotland’s farming communities.

“We should be involved in any decision-making process around trade-offs in deals to ensure that Scotland’s economic and other interests and priorities are taken into account.”

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