Jim Fairlie, one of the SNP’s members at Holyrood in 2021, will lead a debate on the trade deal, which the SNP says could have “extremely damaging consequences” for Scottish farmers due to the inclusion of duty-free access for Australian lamb and beef. and pork.
The Perthshire South and Kinross-shire MSP said: “Scotland’s food exports are world famous for their quality and make an incredible contribution to the Scottish economy.
“The damage a tariff-free deal would do to industry cannot be overstated, as farmers and smallholders are undermined by lower-priced and lower-quality imports.
“In many communities, including my riding, farming is a way of life and the prospect of a tariff-free deal could bankrupt many family businesses, passed down from generation to generation. The Tories threaten an agricultural wasteland for Scotland.
“Once again, the Scottish food industry is threatened by the Tories and their pursuit of Brexit. They have already wreaked havoc on Scotland’s fishing industry – we cannot see the same happening to our world class farmers.
“All of this shows that Scotland would fare better as an independent country within the European Union, where industries would be part of the single market and the customs union. “
Nicola Sturgeon has claimed the Scottish government has been ‘shut out’ from trade talks, with the SNP saying the deal will not compensate for the damage Scotland caused by Brexit.
Writing in The Herald, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said the SNP would rather deny the UK a deal with Australia and join the European Union.
She said: “” A landmark deal with our Australian allies, which is now in sight, would mark the next generation of trade deals. This will be the first deal that we are negotiating from scratch as a new independent trading nation.
“We can do more than ever together to break down the barriers that hold back our exports and propel them to greater success Down Under. “
Ms Truss also claimed that an Australian trade deal could remove tariffs on whiskey, a potential source of money for the industry in Scotland.
According to the Scotch Whiskey Association, a tariff cut would boost sales and support distillers across Scotland, with the industry supporting more than 10,000 jobs in Scotland and more than 40,000 in the UK.
A spokesperson for the Department for International Trade said: ‘Any deal we sign will include protections for the agricultural industry and will not undermine UK farmers or compromise our high standards.
“This is an agreement for the whole of the Union. Our Export Minister was in Scotland last week to defend the benefits of Australia’s FTA [free trade agreement], highlighting how a tariff reduction would benefit iconic products like Scotch whiskey.
“Agreement with Australia will boost UK bid for CPTPP membership [Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership], providing a gateway to the fast growing Indo-Pacific region, where there is an increasing demand for our products.