Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has backed calls from Scotland’s farming representative body for greater scrutiny of trade deals on the back of the UK Government’s announcement of a free trade agreement with New Zealand.
NFU Scotland has warned that the deal "offers virtually nothing" and for the Scottish agricultural sector while posing real threats. With the deal agreed in advance of the promised statutory Trade and Agriculture Commission being established, NFU Scotland President, Martin Kennedy, has also criticised the UK Government for a lack of "appropriate consultation".
Commenting, Mr McArthur said:
"Earlier this year, farming representatives warned that the free-trade deal with Australia was likely to be a blueprint for other deals. Those predictions are now being borne out.
"Striking trade deals is, of course, essential in light of our exit from the EU but the lack of any consultation or transparency is a cause for concern. If the UK Government is genuinely confident about the benefits of these deals, it should have no difficulty opening them up to proper scrutiny.
"Farmers in Orkney and across the UK have warned about the potential implications, not least in relation to welfare and environmental standards from lower cost imports. These are concerns that need to be taken seriously, rather than dismissed by UK Conservative Ministers who think they know best."