Post-Brexit trade deals with non-EU countries such as the USA could put protected Scottish foods at risk, the vice-chair of the European Parliament’s internal market committee has warned.
Products such as Stornoway black pudding, Arbroath Smokies and Scotch currently have Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs), which means they cannot be made anywhere else.
But the UK Government’s insistence on negotiating new trade deals after Brexit could jeopardise the PGIs, Scottish Labour MEP Catherine Stihler said.
It is likely that a trade deal between the UK and EU will continue with Europe-wide protection in return for the UK recognising PGIs such as champagne and Parma ham. But the EU currently uses its strength to fight for PGIs on the global stage, including in ongoing trade discussions with the USA. The USA is lobbying against protected status, and there are fears the UK could be forced to sacrifice the set-up to secure its own trade deal with Washington. It is also unclear if UK PGIs will continue to be covered in other countries which currently recognise the EU-wide scheme.
Labour MEP for Scotland and vice-chair of the European Parliament’s internal market committee, Catherine Stihler said:
“The success of Stornoway Black Pudding resulted in ‘copy-cat’ products, so I fought hard to ensure it had protected status across the EU and in the deals the EU negotiates with other countries.
“But the protected status of iconic Scottish products is now at risk as a result of the Tories’ reckless Brexit plans.
“The USA is lobbying hard against the scheme, and that could be the price for a post-Brexit UK/USA trade deal. There’s also no guarantee that other non-EU countries will automatically recognise the existing arrangement, as the concept is still quite rare on the world stage.
“It’s simply disgraceful that Scottish businesses are being put at risk like this, and as the economic impact becomes clearer it demonstrates why we need a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.”