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Serious concerns over Australian trade deal

At last weeks International Trade questions, I had the opportunity to quiz the UK Government over the negative impact of a UK trade deal with Australia on our current animal welfare and food standards.

Appearing virtually in the House of Commons, I highlighted the UK Government’s failure so far to provide assurances for maintaining standards in post-Brexit trade deals.

As it stands, details over the UK-Australian deal are scant and fears continue to mount that the Tories are willing to sell-out Scotland’s key businesses once again for the sake of a rushed free-trade agreement.

At present, it remains unclear whether the UK Government has negotiated meaningful protections to prevent Scottish farmers being undercut on price and standards of beef, lamb and other produce.

At Westminster, my SNP colleagues and I are calling on the UK Government to publish the full details of the deal without delay, to allow proper parliamentary scrutiny, and ensure meaningful consultation with the Scottish Government, and Scotland’s food and drink sector, to prevent disastrous consequences.

The Australia deal also has worrying implications for future trade deals and there is the very real danger that other economies will demand tariff-free exports to the UK, further undercutting Scottish farmers and lowering our food standards with imports of hormone beef, chlorine chicken, ractopamine pork and other Frankenfoods.

It is growing more apparent by the day that Scotland is increasingly vulnerable under Westminster control. The only way to protect Scottish industry from damaging UK government policies is with full powers to promote our own interest and this can only be achieved by becoming an independent country.

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