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Scottish red meat trade - challenges and opportunities resulting from Brexit

A briefing paper highlighting the challenges and opportunities for the Scottish red meat trade arising from Brexit has been published today (February 6th 2017) by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

The document, produced by QMS’s economics services team, can be viewed here.

The paper focuses on three key areas relating to the trade of red meat from Scotland. These are: access to the European Union market; access to non-EU markets; and the management of imports.

“As with any major change, the prevailing uncertainty about the impact of Brexit is unwelcome for the Scottish red meat industry, as it is for many other UK industries for which exports play a key role,” said Jim McLaren, Quality Meat Scotland Chairman.

“Quality Meat Scotland’s Economics Services team is producing a series of briefing notes looking at the impact of Brexit on our industry.   

“The first looks at the challenges and opportunities for the trade in red meat from Scotland as a result of Brexit.”

The Scottish red meat industry contributes around £2 billion to Scotland’s economy each year and supports around 50,000 jobs, many of which are in more fragile parts of the country.

Typically, only around 23% of Scottish abattoir annual turnover is derived from meat sales to customers within Scotland.  Two-thirds of the turnover comes from sales to customers in the rest of the UK and 10% of turnover, some £75m per annum, comes from international sales over 90% of which are with the EU.

“The information contained in this report makes clear that losing the full and free access to this market that full membership of the EU brings is a considerable threat, with UK meat exporters potentially facing punitive tariffs and substantial market disruption,” said Mr McLaren.

“The document also makes it clear that opportunities to build and improve market access to capture recognised opportunities outside the EU will take time and significant resource,” he added.