Scotland’s thriving food and drink sector has been put at risk by the looming threat of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, which would see crippling tariffs placed on our exports to the European Union (EU).
Working within the European Union’s (EU) policy and trading framework for over 40 years, farming and processing industries have structured themselves regarding imports and exports accordingly. The export tariff schedule that would be implemented in the event of a ‘no deal’, as outlined in the graphic below, suggests that different agricultural sectors would be treated asymmetrically in the imposition of tariffs, risking the serious prospect of Scottish food being priced out of the market whilst food produced to lower standards is imported from third countries.
As a member of the EU, Scotland has enjoyed tariff-free and frictionless trade with its European partners and this has facilitated the exponential growth of food and drink exports in recent years. In 2018, Scotland’s food and drink exports were worth £6.3 billion, a 4.9% increase since 2018. Food exports have grown by 125% since 2007, largely thanks to increased trade with the EU, which is Scotland’s single biggest export trading partner by some distance.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“Any Brexit scenario which undermines Scotland’s tariff-free agri-food trade with the European Union will seriously threaten the livelihoods of the 67,000 people currently employed in Scotland’s agricultural and related sectors.
“Scottish farmers have endured three years of uncertainty about access to European markets for our beef, lamb and other produce, which is now being compounded by fears of our domestic market being flooded with food imports that do not meet the high welfare and safety standards of Scottish farmers. The devastating impact of Brexit on our food sector and the rural economy must be avoided.”
Source of figures above: NFU Scotland.