Gordon MP Richard Thomson took the threat to the egg industry from the UK Government’s new trade deals to the floor of the House of Commons yesterday.
The SNP MP asked for an assurance from Trade Minister Greg Hands that eggs and, importantly, egg products will be afforded sensitive product status by the UK in future free trade agreement negotiations, and that import tariffs will remain in place on those products.
Explaining the concerns raised by the egg industry and the British Egg Industry Council in particular, SNP Trade spokesperson Richard Thomson said:
“In effect, any trade deal with a third country involving the importation of egg products into the UK will be from systems of production that are banned in the UK and a world away from the free-range system of production that UK consumers are increasingly demanding.
“The UK is currently protected from imports of egg products by the current GATT import tariff. Import tariffs are in place to recognise our higher costs of production due to legislation on food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection. Were import tariffs were to be removed, Scottish and UK producers would be at a significant competitive disadvantage.
“So far, the UK Government seems unable to make the distinction between eggs – of which relatively few are imported – and egg products, which is where the main threat lies due to the desperation of the Conservative Government to strike trade deals at any price. I have written to the Minister following our exchange in Parliament yesterday asking him to change course and protect our egg producers and the high welfare standards which they adhere to.”
Note: Photograph attached shows Richard Thomson MP in the House of Commons Chamber.