Dear Sir,

I write in response to the recent letter published in the Scottish Farmer from Mr Barrie regarding food standards.

Mr Barrie does not seem to understand the difference between production standards in another country and UK import standards. The UK is not able to control the production standards in another country. Indeed, no existing trade deal allows one country to impose its production standards on another country. Furthermore, the World Trade Organisation prohibits such clauses in the trade deals that they regulate. I was reassured to hear Jonnie Hall from NFU Scotland confirm this when he recently appeared in front of Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee.

However, the UK can still control our own import standards.

I am entirely in agreement with the desire to create a thriving domestic agricultural industry that is not undercut by cheap foreign imports, while maintaining and promoting high animal welfare, environmental and food standards abroad. But the answer is not to pass legislation that would create an extreme blanket protectionist approach and to slam doors in the faces of our exporters (which includes a number of our famers here in Scotland). What we need is a robust framework which provides support to primary producers to provide security of food supply, while expanding the global trade opportunities to get high-quality Scottish and UK produce onto kitchen tables in as many countries around the world as possible.

It is regrettable that the SNP and others continue to advocate support for a legislative change which would have severely restricted our ability to trade on the global stage. An extreme isolationist approach for our country will result in economic hardship, not just for our food producers but the wider Scottish economy.

John Lamont MP