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Agribusiness News August 2023 – Policy Brief

31 July 2023

CPTPP Trade Deal Signed

The UK has become the first non-founding country to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).  The CPTP partnership was original formed in 2018 between Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Brunei, Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Canada, who collectively generate ~ 13% of the world’s income.

Although the UK already has trade deals in place with most of the countries (with the exception of Brunei and Malaysia), the hope is that with the pledge to eliminate or reduce 95% of import charges or tariffs that new markets will be developed for UK products and services.  While the CPTPP differs from the EU in that the members can have different standards e.g., for animal welfare and food security; the UK will not have to compromise on aspects such as animal welfare and the use of hormones.

As it may take around a year for the finer details of the trade deal to be negotiated and ratified, and it is hoped that further countries like China and Taiwan will join the partnership – the potential benefits of this deal should be regarded as a slow burner rather than one which will evolve overnight.

Free Trade Agreements

Given the complexities of free trade agreements, the Scottish Government has recently published the findings of its commissioned research into the impact on Scottish agriculture of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) between the UK and four selected non-EU partners, namely: Australia; New Zealand (NZ); Canada; and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In general, the report highlights that while the sheep sector is expected to come under pressure and the jury is still out on the arable sector; there is potential for export growth for the beef and dairy sectors linked to interest by Canada in Scotch beef and high quality cheeses.  The report states that ‘it is evident that the UK and Scottish farming industries have entered a “Decade of Disruption,” the industry is grappling with multiple challenges arising from inflation, policy reform, structural challenges, labour shortages, and GHG emissions.’

However, the future success of the trade deals and ultimately the Scottish Food and Drink sector will largely depend on Scottish producers with the support of the Scottish Government capitalising on their high standards of production and the quality of the food produced, coupled with an aggressive global marketing campaign linking in their increasing green credentials, which is no mean feat, but the industry is starting with globally sought after products.

Agricultural Machinery – Wide Loads

With harvest underway, farmers and growers are reminded moving vehicles and machinery on public loads requires an annual dispensation from Police Scotland.

Dispensations are only given for widths of up to 4.3 metres including implements and for a radius of up to 20 miles from the applicant’s base.  It is not necessary to list all the implements being transported on the application form, only the measurements of the largest implement.  The measurements should be taken from the widest and longest point including any mirrors, overhangs, etc.

Application forms are not currently online, so must be posted or emailed to Police Scotland.   Agricultural Dispensation Application forms can be downloaded here.

Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ)

While the avian influenza protection zone (AIPZ) across Scotland was lifted on 4 July 2023, RSPB Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland are concerned that more seabirds may be succumbing to the virus.  In particular, there has been a rise in reports of dead kittiwakes, black-headed gulls, herring gulls, terns and guillemots being washed up on the east coast of Scotland.  While there can be other factors involved in wild bird deaths, reporting all sightings of dead birds to BirdTrack and the dead wild birds service provides an early warning of where the virus may have hit and allows the British Trust for Ornithology to track its movement across the UK.

Improving energy efficiency of croft homes.

The Scottish Government have announced an extension to the Croft House Grant Scheme.  Eligible crofters can now apply for grants of up to £38,000 towards the costs of home improvements which will help to  save energy.    Further details are available on the Rural Payments website.

Islands Cost Crisis Emergency Fund

Scottish islanders facing high fuel, food and energy costs are to receive an additional £1.4 million in support to help meet cost of living pressures.  The new funding will be delivered through the Islands Cost Crisis Emergency Fund.  The fund criteria have also been extended to potentially include struggling local businesses.


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