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Alyn presses EU Commissioner on Mercosur, Whisky

SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has intervened in a wide-ranging evidence session in Brussels with EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan covering Mercosur, trade deals and the impact of a potential Brexit on Scottish agriculture.

Commissioner Hogan warned that as well as Scots farming missing out on the advantages and protection of EU trade deals, the vital Scotch Whisky industry could lose legal protection in global markets.  He said explicitly "if the UK Government does not apply for protections then your beef is with them".

Speaking after the meeting, Alyn said:

"This was another good round the houses with Phil, who continues to impress with his commitment to agriculture and farming, and of course as an Irishman he gets Scotland and Brexit.

"His words on Mercosur went some way to reassure, especially that the EU will not accept any imports to lower standards than we produce to ourselves, but there are still a lot of issues with that potential deal and it is very much a good thing that the European Parliament will continue to scrutinise it and it will not come into force without our approval.

"On whisky he was less reassuring, and it is deeply concerning that the legal protection of such an important Scottish product – as well as all the rest – is under so much uncertainty.  He was quite clear that Irish Whiskey will continue to have EU protection but, unless the UK government manages to somehow arrange EU protection, that Scotch will not.  We need better than this and it is a poor state of affairs that so much is at risk from brexit.