A NEW Deal has been struck between the European Union and China to recognise more of each other's protected regional food designations, including Scotch whisky and salmon.

Significantly expanding on the previous agreement, which covered only 10 products each, China will now recognise 100 geographical indications (GIs) covering foodstuffs from the EU, in return for the EU reciprocating by accepting the protected status of 100 Chinese products, like Pixian bean paste, Anji white tea and Panjin rice.

Commissioner Phil Hogan, who is moving from his successful posting in agriculture to pursue a more general international trade brief, said: "It is a win for both parties, strengthening our trading relationship, benefitting our agricultural and food sectors, and consumers on both sides."

EU agri-food exports to China were worth €12.8 billion between September 2018 and August 2019.

Scottish agri-affairs MEP Alyn Smith welcomed the EU-China bilateral agreement, which is expected to come into force by the end of next year.

"This is another global vote of confidence for Scottish produce, and I'd like to see the same protection extended to Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb," said Mr Smith. "The agreement is a great template for future relations, and we know that people are willing to pay a bit more for a better product.

"Will we keep this after Brexit? Since Scotland makes up half of the protected goods in the current UK category, we have a right to know," he added. "Our farmers have been working too hard, for too long, to be thrown under the bus by anyone flailing around for an 'it'll do' trade deal. Being part of the EU is good for farmers and good for consumers."