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Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 13th February 2020.

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Jonnie Hall:

I do not think it is a huge deal for produce leaving Scotland and going to Northern Ireland, but it is a very big issue for Northern Irish colleagues, who obviously want to access markets in GB—the rest of the UK. That is a real conundrum, in the sense that regulatory alignment with the EU will clearly be a vital issue on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. If that has implications for regulatory alignment with the rest of the UK and the EU, I can foresee lots of headaches and issues with that.

From what I see, we are moving more and more towards the potential of triangular trading agreements between ourselves, the EU and non-EU countries—for example, those in North America. There clearly has to be some sort of tension point at some level, because the UK Government have made it clear that there will not be regulatory alignment with the EU, although there will be equivalence—whatever that might mean—in order to secure deals with non-EU countries. That puts in doubt or jeopardy our potential to trade both with the EU and with other countries at the same time. That is a major concern for us.