NFU Scotland has called for the requirements of the farming, food and drink sectors to be front and centre of Brexit negotiations.
Giving evidence to the House of Lords European Union Select Committee on the implications of Brexit for Scotland, NFU Scotland’s Chief Executive, Scott Walker focussed on the importance of trade deals and ongoing access to markets for Scottish produce.
At the evidence session in Edinburgh this afternoon (1 February), Mr Walker said: “Brexit presents a unique and unprecedented situation and NFU Scotland is keen that, as the first Member State to leave the EU, the negotiators address the requirements of the farming, food and drink sectors.
“We must make the most of any opportunities that Brexit presents. I believe, based on our record, we can support jobs and grow income but only if negotiators prioritise agricultural production and back our successful food and drink industries.
“As part of that future, I believe we need continued access to our important European markets. Other markets across the world offers opportunities but this must not be at the expense of our trading arrangement with Europe. Access to the EU market without barriers and any new obstacles must be a priority.
“Next to the rest of the UK, Europe remains the largest destination for Scottish food exports and a market that offers a genuine opportunity for expansion.
“The Prime Minister’s address of 17 January effectively ruled out remaining within the Single Market. It is of utmost importance to the Scottish agricultural industry that the Prime Minister achieves her stated objective of a bold and ambitious free trade agreement with the EU.
“We want barrier and tariff-free trade with Europe as well as Brexit bringing the freedom to set our own appropriate bespoke rules at a UK and Scottish level for farming, and food and drink.”