Mark Garnier, Minister at the Department for International Trade (DfIT), was quizzed in Parliament last week about whether or not farmers will get a ‘special deal’ to protect agricultural exports.
Dr Lisa Cameron, who represents East Kilbride, said leaving the single market would be ‘hugely detrimental’ to farmers and sought reassurance they would be protected from sudden rises in tariffs.
Though the Minister acknowledged the need to secure ‘good tariff deals’ with other countries and noted agricultural products suffer some of the highest levies, he refused to rule out the creation of new tariffs, saying trade in foodstuffs was ‘a difficult and nuanced area to get right’.
“On the one hand, exporters from Scotland to other markets may face big tariffs, but on the other hand, if we end up with a very low tariff barrier, we will have to impose it, which could mean farmers in Scotland are flooded by imports”, he added.
The news is likely to disappoint UK farming unions, which have pressed for continued access to the single market without tariffs or non-tariff barriers since the referendum.