SLE statement on EU trade deal

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Scottish Land and Estates, the rural business organisation representing farmers and land managers, has issued a statement regarding the UK-EU trade deal.

Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive at Scottish Land and Estates, said: ‘Most within the Scottish farming and food sectors will view the trade deal with the EU as positive news at a time when the risk of a no-deal Brexit was edging closer.

‘Scotland’s sheep farmers will be particularly relieved that tariff and quota free access to European markets has been secured.

‘WTO tariffs on products such as lamb, beef and seafood may have dealt a critical blow to the future of many businesses in rural Scotland and it was important that this was avoided.

‘Seed potato exports being excluded from the deal is a setback to producers and we hope that this is an area where the UK Government and the EU can continue dialogue.

‘We will be digesting the detail of the deal in the coming days but we should recognise that farmers, food producers and exporters will still need to be ready for the substantial customs checks that will be introduced as part of our future relationship.

‘There will undoubtedly be additional costs that businesses will incur, such as veterinary certification, and this must be acknowledged as part of the new arrangements.’