Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has voiced support today for a letter sent by 14 Scottish food and drink businesses calling on the International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to engage more with industry on issues relating to EU trade and potential trade deals with Australia and other countries.
The letter, signed by organisations including Scotland Food and Drink, the NFU Scotland and the Scottish Crofting Federation, voices support for greater trading opportunities but raises concerns about the risks to local businesses if greater collaboration and understanding is not reached.
Mr Carmichael said:
“Scottish food and drink organisations are presenting a united front to the government over trade and we have to stand with them. They are absolutely clear that increasing trade with partners around the world is vital – but that it has to come in collaboration and genuine engagement with the industries involved.
“That is still more true when it comes to keystone industries for island communities like farming, crofting and fishing. The government has a lot of legwork to do – that they are not currently doing – when it comes to assessing the potential impact on smaller communities.
“Buyer’s remorse already appears to be settling in with ministers around the rushed and heedless deal they made with the EU. You might think they would have learned to slow things down for negotiations with Australia and others so that they do not make the same mistake twice. Based on today’s letter the lesson appears to have passed them by. It is time that the government listened to local businesses to ensure that we get trade deals that work for everyone.”