Salmon producers fear escalation of ‘trade war’

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Scottish salmon producers have expressed concern that the UK government appears to be heading for a trade war with the European Union.

Trade body Salmon Scotland wrote to the Prime Minister today following a statement in the House of Commons by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. She had presented plans to introduce new legislation to change, unilaterally, the Northern Ireland Protocol which was agreed with the EU as part of the Brexit deal.

The protocol involves checks on goods brought into Northern Ireland from mainland Britain as a prize for maintaining an open border with the Republic of Ireland, but it has proven unpopular, particularly with unionists.

Truss said the “serious situation” in Northern Ireland – where the Democratic Unionist Party has suspended power-sharing agreements over the issue – has made it necessary to act alone if changes cannot be agreed with the EU.

The EU, however, said it would “respond with all measures at its disposal” if the legislation goes ahead.

Salmon Scotland said it feared the UK government’s course of action could ‘destroy’ the industry’s hard work to boost exports to the EU in recent months, which has brought hundreds of millions of pounds to the UK. UK economy and supported thousands of jobs. in rural Scotland.

Chief executive Tavish Scott wrote in his letter to Boris Johnson: ‘Any deterioration in relations between London and Brussels which results in border friction, delays and queuing for carriers crossing to France or additional costs for our exporters could bring us back to where we were at the beginning of last year when exports were in chaos”.

He called on the Prime Minister “…to withdraw from any form of confrontation with the EU over trade”.

Scott added: “It would cause problems at any time, but when the country is facing a cost of living crisis, when inflation is rising rapidly and when the war in Ukraine puts considerable pressure on the availability of food essential, such as a dispute could be very detrimental.

Tavish Scott also held talks with Defra, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, this week.

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