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Ewing pledges to help Scottish seed potato growers hit by Brexit trade loss

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has pledged to do all he can to help the seed potato sector cope with the loss of European and Northern Irish trade after Brexit.

Mr Ewing says he was “extremely disappointed and concerned” about an impending ban on the export of Scottish seed potatoes to Europe and Northern Ireland.

The ban, which comes into force on Friday, follows seed potatoes being denied third-country equivalence status by the European Union.

This is the mechanism whereby the European Commission decides whether a non-EU country’s regulatory, supervisory and enforcement regime is equivalent to its own.

Mr Ewing said the decision would have an estimated £15 million economic impact on the seed potato sector.

He said: “Scottish seed potatoes are highly regarded internationally and account for 75% of UK production and 80% of exports.

“We will not rest on this issue until every possible option has been explored.

“I met with industry leaders this week to hear their grave concerns, and expect the UK Government to make every effort, alongside the Scottish Government, to ensure our Scottish potato producers do not suffer from the damaging consequences of our exit from the EU.”

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