The devolved administrations must have a seat at the negotiating table in talks on future trade deals, the Scottish Affairs Committee has insisted in its report Scotland, Trade and Brexit.
Available at publications.parliament.uk, the report argues that it is essential to ensure the distinct priorities of Scottish trade are represented.
The Committee recommends that UK trade deals should be contingent on the close involvement of the Scottish Government, to ensure that trade agreements work for the whole of the UK.
It sets out Scottish priorities for future UK trade policy including that no new barriers to trade should be created between Scotland and the rest of the UK, and that sectors of vital importance to the Scottish economy such as the food, drink and fisheries sectors are not “traded away” to secure preferential agreements for other industries.
In addition, to maintain Scotland’s reputation for high-quality produce, legislation should be brought forward to establish a domestic scheme for Geographical Indicators (GIs), which are seen as crucially important in protecting the provenance and quality of iconic Scottish products such as Scotch Whisky.
In fact, the Committee argues that protection for Scottish GIs should be a red line for the UK in all its future trade negotiations.
The report highlights that these sectors have benefitted immensely from membership of the EU Single Market and recommends that the Government consults with business before any decisions to diverge from EU trading standards are made.
Chairman Pete Wishart said: “The Government has the immense task of setting a precedent for all future international trade talks post-Brexit. My Committee heard evidence that Scotland needs a place at the negotiating table if UK trade deals are to stand a chance of benefitting the whole of the UK.”
Under the devolution settlement, international trade is reserved to the UK Government, while the Scottish Government is responsible for economic development and the implementation of international obligations.
Last reviewed 14 March 2019