Union Welcomes Brexit Deal Progress

Breakthrough must drive forward trade talks

NFU Scotland has welcomed the progress made on Brexit negotiations today (8 December) and urges the UK and the EU to use this as a launchpad to drive forward trade talks.

With today’s announcement, a welcome line has been drawn under the speculation around ‘no deal’ scenarios and the Union urges rapid progress on trade.  

While securing a deal with Europe will be essential for Scotland’s farmers and crofters, the Union also wrote this week to Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox requesting a meeting to discuss any future international trading arrangements out with the EU and what they may mean for Scottish food and farming.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “The Brexit process to date has starved our industry of much-needed confidence and certainty on its direction.  With the clock ticking towards March 2019, the conclusion of this phase is to be welcomed.

“It is the green light for NFUS to intensify its pressure on governments, to secure the best trade, labour and support outcomes for Scottish agriculture and the food and drinks sectors we underpin, by stepping up our lobbying activity.  That will see us in Westminster again next week.  The leadership and foresight of the Union must be matched by political leaders and governments.

“NFU Scotland has been crystal clear in its priorities for future trading arrangements and we mapped these out in our recent submission to the Trade Bill White Paper.

“Our preference is for the UK to remain in the EU Single Market and Customs Union, but we understand that the UK Government will seek to devise a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU. The FTA must allow unfettered and barrier-free access to EU markets.

“As well as barrier and tariff-free trade, Scotland needs the freedom to set our own appropriate rules for farming.  It is essential that whatever future trade deal is found for farming, food and drink, it is bespoke to the Scottish and UK situation. NFUS therefore welcomes the strategic objectives as set out in the white paper, which seek to ensure that UK/EU trade remains as frictionless as possible, and note today’s commitment to avoid a ‘hard border’ between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“It is possible that interim measures may have to be put in place before an FTA is implemented. NFUS and the other UK farming unions have made clear their wish that, at the very least, the UK should stay within the Customs Union during the transition period to new trade agreements.

“New trade policies for UK agri-food must be complemented by a supportive regulatory framework and effective and re-drawn agricultural policy which is targeted at active agriculture. It is also vital that the agricultural and food processing industries continue to be able to access workers from overseas.

“The Department for International Trade must work closely with colleagues in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) to ensure there are no unintended consequences from overlapping policy frameworks that are put in place after ‘exit day’ and the time-limited implementation period.”  


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4108

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 175/17

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About The Author

Bob Carruth

A dairy farmer’s son, I joined NFU Scotland in 1999 after 13 years as an agricultural journalist. Following spells as a regional manager and policy lead on milk, livestock and animal health and welfare, I became Communications Director in 2008.

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