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The Scottish Government continues to press the UK Government to take Scotland’s needs into account and to seek our agreement when considering the desirability of any new trade deals when negotiating mandates are agreed or changed and when agreements or other arrangements are ratified and signed. We were deeply concerned by recent leaked documents that suggest that the national health service is on the table in the trade negotiations with the United States. That demonstrates exactly why the Scottish Government needs to have a clear role in any future trade agreements, to ensure that the priorities of Scottish public services, such as the NHS, are acted on.
Among the many threats from trade deals to Scotland’s food and drink industry, there are serious concerns about geographical indications—GIs—which have also been put on the table as part of potential trade negotiations with the United States. That move would clearly undermine the sector and be a disaster for Scotland’s world-class produce, including Stornoway black pudding, whisky, Arbroath smokies, Scottish farmed salmon, Shetland lamb and Orkney beef and lamb. What discussions has the cabinet secretary had with the UK Government to ensure that GIs are protected and measures are put in place to prevent bogus imitations?
It would be a fine shopping list with great produce on it, Presiding Officer.
The Scottish Government is acutely aware of the importance of GIs for the range of Scottish products that have achieved that status. Leaving the single market and the customs union would be most damaging to Scotland’s food and drink industry. Food exports to the European Union were valued at approximately £1.1 billion in 2018. There is a new GI scheme being legislated for, but it is not guaranteed that it would be in place on day 1 should the UK leave the EU, which we still hope will not happen. It is vital that GIs are recognised and that European GIs continue to be a key part of the system.