Local MSP Maree Todd, SNP, has warned the Tories are preparing to sell out over protections for top Orkney produce, risking Scotland’s global reputation for quality produce to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with Donald Trump.
The European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has this week penned an article warning of the risks of not finding agreement over maintaining protected status for valuable Scottish products.
The EU Protected Food Name scheme safeguards produce on the basis of geographical status or traditional recipe or method, giving legal protection against imitation and ensuring that premium products are not undermined, including Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar, Orkney Beef and Orkney Lamb.
Scotch Whisky – of which Orkney produces the famous Highland Park and Scapa single malts – one of the UK’s most valuable products for export, is also protected by a geographical indication under separate regulations.
The Tories have already set a worrying precedent by omitting protection for Scottish products from the EU-Canada trade deal (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreements (CETA).
Maree Todd said:
“The EU Protected Food Name scheme has safeguarded high quality Scottish products such as Orkney’s delicious Island Cheddar cheese and the county’s beef and lamb from cheap knock-offs.
“It is alarming that the EU’s chief negotiator says that the Westminster government has yet to reach an agreement with the EU to maintain the scheme. The danger is that the Tories are prepared to take this protection away and undercut our first class, wholesome produce in order to strike a quick trade deal with Donald Trump, whose priority is America First.
“We cannot afford to put Orkney’s valuable food and drink sector in the hands of the hard-line Brexiteer Tories, who think they can do what they want to Scotland and get away with it.
“Westminster’s Brexit shambles must not leave Scottish producers high and dry in the global marketplace – maintaining our place in Europe’s Single Market is the best way to prevent this.”
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