SAMW made the following statement in response to press questions, generated by Quality Meat Scotland’s latest Brexit briefing paper:
SAMW said: “The challenge for Government during the next two years of Brexit negotiations is to ensure that trading routes into the EU remain open, even if that involves a certain degree of change and adjustment in the way in which that trade operates.
“If such a settlement can be delivered, albeit outside the single market, we’re confident the opportunity to sell Scotland’s high quality red meat to EU customers will continue, based on the hard-earned reputation of our product and the commitment of existing buyers to Scotch meat as a ‘top-end’ item on restaurant menus.
“Trading into the EU may present more challenges for SAMW members in the post-Brexit era, of course, as the QMS report rightly warns. However, while much will depend on the settlement which the Government is able to deliver, SAMW member companies will continue to seek relevant and profitable EU business throughout the next two years and beyond.
“In addition, in the midst of the Brexit changes, it is important that Government recognises the opportunities that exist for home-produced growth within the UK itself. The UK meat market is a long way short of being self-sufficient, a fact which means there should be greater opportunities for domestic expansion, especially by Scottish suppliers.
“As the QMS report states, two-thirds of Scotch meat is ‘exported’ to the rest of the UK, making it our most important trading outlet. It will be vital, therefore, that in negotiating the UK’s post-Brexit deals, with the EU and other existing and new trading partners around the world, the UK market is given proper and effective protection against inferior, poor welfare and poor hygiene imports from other countries.
“Brexit will produce changes but they don’t all have to be negative, provided the Government secures the right deal for UK producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers.”