Question to the Scotland Office:
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the imposition of trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK as a result of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the (a) proportion and (b) value of the domestic UK market for Scottish seed potatoes.
My officials are in regular contact with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for International Trade, who continue to press the EU to reconsider its position, in line with its own regulations, on the import of seed potatoes from Great Britain to the EU.
We fully appreciate the importance of Scotland’s seed potato industry, not only for our production across the UK but also for export, and its deserved reputation for high quality.
Prior to the EU import ban, Scotland exported approximately 20,000t of seed potatoes to the EU and around 2,000t to Northern Ireland, worth in the region of £11M pa. The Scottish potato sector’s output contributes over £208 million to the economy. Scottish seed potatoes are high quality and before the EU ban were exported to more than 40 countries.