Brexit threat to Scotch whisky and Stornoway black pudding
Products such as Scotch whisky and Stornoway black pudding currently have protected status known as geographical indication
A glass of whisky - Image credit: Press Association
The protected status of key Scottish food and drinks products could be under threat if a post-Brexit deal is not put in place, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Fergus Ewing has warned.
Products such as Scotch whisky, Stornoway black pudding, Arbroath smokies and Scotch lamb and beef currently have special status known as geographical indication, meaning they cannot be produced elsewhere and given that name.
The same protections are given significant food and drink products from other EU countries, such Parmasan cheese and champagne.
However, the European Commission's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said the UK Government has not yet agreed to protect geographical indications after the UK leaves the EU.
In an article on the European Commission website yesterday, Barnier said: “80% of the Withdrawal Agreement is agreed… However, 80% is not 100%. We still need to agree on important points, such as the protection of ‘geographical indications’.”
Fergus Ewing said protected food names and other geographical indications were vital and urgent action was needed from the UK Government to protect Scotland’s food and drink produce after Brexit.
He said: “The European Commission’s chief negotiator recognises the significant contribution that these producers make to the wider economy.
“We have been pressing UK Government to agree a need for a UK GI system post-Brexit from the outset and, while we welcome confirmation in their white paper of the plans to do so, there remains a question over maintaining the existing protection currently enjoyed by our producers within the EU through the mutual recognition of our protected products.
“It is extremely alarming that the EU says this has not yet been resolved and that the failure of the UK Government to reach agreement on this issue is being cited as one of the obstacles to reaching an overall withdrawal agreement.
“A no deal outcome would be catastrophic for our food and drink industry and the economy as a whole.
“The UK Government must make it clear it is not preparing to ditch vital geographical indications to facilitate a future trade deal with the US.
“It must rule out no deal and reach an agreement that protects our world-class produce.”
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