Gordon MP Richard Thomson has continued his campaign to restore access to the export markets in the EU and Northern Ireland for Scottish seed potatoes.
In a press release, Thomson’s office points out that prior to Brexit, Scottish seed potatoes were a crucial import for European markets. However, since January 2021 Scotland’s farmers have been unable to export seed potatoes to the EU, including Northern Ireland, because of changes in trade regulations as a result of Brexit.
These Brexit barriers have been put in place despite there being no change to the domestic UK plant health requirements for seed potatoes dating from when the UK exited from the EU on this date, or indeed any reduction in the quality of the product itself.
The UK Government has announced an extension to the Trader Support Service (TSS) which helps businesses navigate changes to the way goods are now exported to Northern Ireland as a result of Brexit. However, Scottish seed potato producers are still banned from exporting to that part of the UK.
Commenting, Richard Thomson said: “Following the recent mass resignations and sackings in the chaos that is the UK Government, we have a new Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. There is an opportunity here for him as a new appointee with no baggage to engage with the EU in a meaningful way and restore the export markets for Scottish seed potatoes.
“I have therefore written to the Secretary of State, Ranil Jayawardena, asking him to explore new ways in which this can be achieved. One way could involve mirroring the arrangement made for certain locations in Canada to export to named countries within the EU, which my research tells me was achieved in 2000.
“If it can be achieved for parts of the Canadian provinces, then it can be achieved for Scottish seed potato exporters. All it needs is the political will to break with the ideology of Brexit.”