Thu 24 Nov, 2016

Clearly there is a real threat to our publicly-run NHS and our food producers. Mark Ruskell MSP

Mark Ruskell MSP, Food & Farming spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (24 Nov) raised with the First Minister 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.

The Scottish Government has confirmed to Mr Ruskell 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 that the UK Government hasn’t included any protected food names in the agreement, putting at risk the legal status given to 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’. At First Minister's Questions today, Nicola Sturgeon restated that refusal but said that she would seek to make Scotland's voice heard on the issues raised by Mr Ruskell.

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

"Last month, Holyrood voted for my amendment calling for the Westminster Government to address concerns about CETA. While it's welcome to hear the First Minister acknowledge the latest concerns today, it's frustrating that we are still being denied sight of the government's assessment.

"Clearly there is a real threat to our publicly-run NHS and our food producers. Corporate power grabs such as CETA must be challenged and Greens will continue to campaign against these threats."

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