SSPO puts hope in post-Brexit re­port

Fish Farmer - - News -

THE Scot­tish Sal­mon Pro­duc­ers’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion (SSPO) has pub­lished a work­ing paper aimed at se­cur­ing the best pos­si­ble out­come for the Scot­tish sal­mon in­dus­try post- Brexit.

As talks take place be­tween the UK and EU ne­go­ti­at­ing par­ties, the SSPO says its re­port will act as a start­ing point for dis­cus­sions.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion has iden­ti­fied four key themes un­der­pin­ning the in­dus­try’s aims and hopes: cus­toms ar­range­ments; le­gal and reg­u­la­tory cer­tainty; work­force and com­mu­ni­ties; and in­ter­na­tional trade poli­cies.

The Euro­pean mar­ket was worth £149 mil­lion to Scot­tish com­pa­nies in the first six months of 2017, rep­re­sent­ing ap­prox­i­mately 47 per cent by vol­ume and over 43 per cent by value of to­tal sal­mon ex­ports from Scot­land.

Scott Lands­burgh, SSPO chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: ‘While the re­port it­self is rea­son­ably ‘high level’ and broad rather than deep in con­tent, much de­tailed work has gone on be­hind the scenes in pre­par­ing a Brexit strat­egy.

‘We have con­sulted far and wide, and held con­struc­tive talks at senior po­lit­i­cal lev­els. We are, in the main, en­cour­aged by the will­ing­ness of politi­cians and civil ser­vants to lis­ten to our con­cerns, give feed­back and up­dates and push our agenda for­ward.

‘But there is noth­ing con­crete that we can rely on as things stand. We have a num­ber of as­pi­ra­tions for our in­dus­try on what the talks will bring for us but, ul­ti­mately, we have to as­sume a ‘worst case sce­nario’.

‘We need to be able to work with­out a free trade deal if it comes to that and we have spent a good deal of time es­tab­lish­ing what would be needed to make this sce­nario work suf­fi­ciently for our in­dus­try.’

He said the big­gest con­cern is what might hap­pen at the port of en­try. ‘The EU are legally com­pelled to ac­cept our goods but they can put all sorts of stric­tures in the way to make it dif­fi­cult and if you’ve got per­ish­able prod­uct…there could be a real prob­lem.

‘In our ideal sce­nario, the UK and EU would agree a tar­iff-free com­pre­hen­sive free trade deal that al­lows our pro­duce to en­ter EU mar­kets in much the same way and at the same cost and within the same time­frames as now.

‘Then we could move on to tak­ing the po­ten­tial op­por­tu­ni­ties that the sit­u­a­tion gives us- new free trade deals with other world mar­kets and, ide­ally, a more ef­fi­cient cus­toms and ex­port­ing process. But we are still some way off achiev­ing this.’

He said other mar­kets, out­side Europe, could be ex­panded: ‘I think that could be achieved quite quickly, par­tic­u­larly in the US. I don’t think there is any trade im­ped­i­ment to that.’

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