CETA corporate power grab risks our public services & economy

Mark Ruskell MSP, Food & Farming spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, is raising fresh concerns about the CETA trade deal signed between the EU and Canada after discovering that it threatens the NHS in Scotland and Scottish food exports.

In an answer to a parliamentary question that Mr Ruskell put to Economy Secretary Keith Brown, it is revealed that NHS Scotland has not been specifically listed as being exempt from CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement), potentially leaving it open to commercial entry.

And the UK Government hasn’t included any protected food names in the agreement, putting at risk the legal status given to vital exports such as Scotch beef and lamb, Stornoway black pudding and Arbroath smokies. 

Since June, Mr Ruskell has been asking the Scottish Government for its assessment of the impact of CETA on Scotland, but ministers are refusing to publish it, saying it is ‘legal advice’.

Last month, Holyrood voted for a motion amended by Mr Ruskell calling for the Westminster Government to address concerns about CETA.

Mark Ruskell, Food & Farming spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Mid Scotland & Fife, said:

"The UK government has previously said that the NHS would be exempt from controversial trade deals including TTIP and CETA. It's a worry that NHS Scotland has not been listed separately in the treaty, and I would urge the Scottish Government to seek clarity on this point.

"Corporate power grabs such as CETA not only pose a risk to our public services but to our economy. It’s shocking to learn that because the whisky industry is represented by multinational corporations it has had a say in CETA, ensuring protection for its brands, while small producers of heritage foods like Stornoway Black Pudding and Arbroath Smokies have been failed by the UK Government who have done nothing to ensure their continued protected status.

"It's frustrating that the Scottish Government is refusing to publish its assessment of the consequences of CETA for Scotland. I have been pressing for answers for months, and there are growing public concerns. It's vital that Scottish Ministers show they are taking the threat seriously."


Parliamentary Question from Mark Ruskell, with answer from Keith Brown