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Ross MSP flags fears US trade deal could hammer Highland producers

By Hector MacKenzie

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MSP Maree Todd has spoken out about her worries over a trade deal.
MSP Maree Todd has spoken out about her worries over a trade deal.

A ROSS-based MSP has warned that farmers and food producers in the Highlands and Islands could be hit by a post-Brexit trade deal with Donald Trump, after the US ambassador reiterated demands for major concessions from the UK.

Maree Todd says Donald Trump's administration wants the UK to accept lower food safety standards than exist within the European Union, allowing US products such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef to be sold in the UK, undercutting domestic food producers.

She says the US ambassador this week confirmed that a future trade deal would require access to “the entire economy”, potentially impacting other sectors such as the NHS.

There are also concerns that Scottish products, such as Scotch beef, whisky andArbroath smokies could lose their protected status after Brexit allowing cheap-knock-offs to be sold.

The Highlands and Islands MSP said: "Scotland has top-quality food safety standards, in line with the rest of the EU, protecting consumers and our world-renowned Scottish produce. But that’s now under threat, with the Tories planning to sell out Scottish food producers as part of a damaging back-room trade deal with Donald Trump.

"As a member of the EU, local products like Scotch beef, whisky and cheeses have been protected from cheap market knock-offs - we can’t allow the Tories to take a take a wrecking ball to our booming food and drink sector here in Highlands and Islands.

“The UK government’s shambolic approach to Brexit leaves them in an exceptionally weak bargaining position – with Tory leadership contenders competing to be the most reckless with our economic future. There’s a real danger that, if Brexit happens, the next Prime Minister will be absolutely desperate to sign whatever damaging trade-deal Trump demands.

“Scotland voted overwhelmingly against Brexit – and the threat of selling out Highlands and Island’s food producers shows exactly why we need to stop it.”

Do you agree? Email newsdesk@spp-group.com or write to us at the address on our letters page.

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