MEPs invited to meet with NFUS this summer

NFU Scotland has invited Scottish MEPs to join them on farm or at an agricultural show this summer to discuss growing concerns amongst farmers and crofters regarding the potential impact that trade deals could have on Scottish agriculture.

Monitoring European trade negotiations – specifically taking place with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the South American trading bloc, Mercosur – will be high on the Union’s agenda in the months ahead.

In recent weeks, NFU Scotland officials have contributed to discussions in Brussels on trade plans and specifically pressed the European Commission to think harder about the impact that foreign beef imports could have on production here in the UK.

That has had some success, with beef removed from the Mercosur discussion but the Union is keen that our MEPs keep their eye on the matter.

NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said: “Whilst the subsequent decision by the European Commission to remove beef from the Mercosur negotiations is very welcome, our understanding is that this remains a temporary arrangement and the potential for beef to return to the negotiating table is causing great concern within the industry.

“Beef is not the only sector under threat and there are a range of other agricultural sector which might be impacted in a negative way as part of these trade deals. “Whilst the volumes of agricultural imported produce being considered in both TTIP and Mercosur could have an impact on already depressed market returns, there is also worries about the production systems used by overseas trade partners, and the need for equivalence to ensure a level playing field.

“Equivalent standard demands range from the withdrawal periods for veterinary medicines, to the traceability of livestock and food, to animal welfare standards.

“In Scotland, we are proud to have some of the highest welfare regulations and a robust audit process which continually guarantees assurance standards on farms, regardless of whether they are producing crops, livestock, dairy, pigs and poultry or fresh produce.

“It is imperative that other countries have similar standards and, critically, that these standards are independently audited.

“We know that this will be an issue of interest for all our MEPs and we invite them to use the summer recess to join us on farm or at one of the many agricultural shows taking place this summer to further discuss this important subject.”

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