SCOTLAND - NFU Scotland has sought for reassurance from the European Union that animal health issues will be addressed ahead of potential trade discussions with South American nations after a delegation to Brazil and Paraguay examined the significant opportunities that exist across the Atlantic.
The Union has written to Mr Smith, asking him to secure reassurances at a European level that before any trade deal is agreed, animal health issues will be properly addressed in the negotiations. That letter was delivered to Mr Smith’s office yesterday (29 November) by NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller who is currently in Brussels.
Commenting on the letter, Mr Miller, who is a farmer and qualified vet, said:
“The reports and press coverage generated by the delegation’s visit has focussed attention on the potential impact of a trade deal with South America. Higher levels of meat imports may yet be an outcome of those negotiations but we would want reassurances that animal health risks will be minimised and that production standards on farm, in the abattoir and in the cutting plants will match those required here.
“In parts of South America, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is still a real danger and a risk which Europe cannot afford to ignore. Regionalisation in South America to recognise FMD status is a legitimate tool, which should free up trade. However, regionalisation requires solid traceability to ensure cattle from an infected area do not breach the disease-free zone.
Another letter sent to Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson MP supporting the opening of trade routes to Japan was also signed by NFU Scotland. The aim of NFUS is to create opportunities in Japan after they closed their doors to European Beef since the BSE crisis.
The letter, also signed by the National Beef Association, Scottish Beef Cattle Association, Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers and the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland, states that the growth of beef consumption in China and South East Asia offers a golden opportunity for Scottish producers.
NFU Scotland’s Nigel Miller said: “Scotland has a fantastic story to tell on the quality and provenance of its food and drink and the prospect for beef farmers of tapping into Japanese demand for high quality products like whisky and salmon is mouth-watering.
“Defra’s recent success in securing a lift on the ban on exports of British beef to Russia shows what can be achieved and we believe there would be merit in directing resources towards securing a similar export deal with Japan. As Scottish beef farmers, we offer our support to achieve this,” added Mr Miller.
TheCattleSite News Desk