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Brexit fightback: UK bans EU seed potato imports in snub at Brussels

A trade row between Brussels and London threatened to erupt tonight after UK ministers banned the import of seed potatoes from EU countries in a victory for Scottish farmers. Richard Percival reports for the Express that the Department for Food, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) restricted the imports of seed potatoes from the European Union after deciding not to renew a six-month authorisation. The six-month grace period had allowed imports from European Countries since the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1.

But Ministers will now consider applications to market imported seed potatoes from the bloc on a case-by-case basis following an industry-wide consultation.

It comes after the European Union refused repeated requests by UK ministers to authorise the export of seed potatoes from Britain since January 1, 2021. Brussels has banned the export of seed spuds from Great Britain to the EU since 31 December 2020 after the Trade and Cooperation Agreement failed to agree equivalence on the goods.

A Defra spokesperson added: “This approach recognises the fact that the UK is broadly self-sufficient in the total quantity of seed potato production, while retaining a mechanism to consider future marketing authorisations as necessary.

Scottish farming chiefs welcomed the news and claimed any extension to the grace period had the potential to “devastate” the industry.

Source: Express. Read the full story here
Cover image: PA

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