Scotland’s standards for trade must be protected, says First Minister

Standards for trade after Brexit must not be allowed to deteriorate, the First Minister has said.

Scotland's standards for trade must be protected, says First Minister

The comments were made during the bi-annual meeting between the Scottish Government and STUC which included a discussion about the UK Government approach to new trade deals following Brexit.

The meeting agreed that almost all modern trade deals touch on devolved issues and therefore must have the consent and participation of the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament.

This would include assessing the desirability of new trade deals, a formal role in negotiations and a part for the Scottish Parliament to play in the ratification and implementation of international trade agreements to ensure Scotland’s best interests are reflected.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Although Scotland faces being removed from the EU against our will we will continue to make sure Scotland’s voice is heard every step of the way.

“These arrangements aren’t just about who we trade with, they are about how we trade and how we maintain the highest possible standards.

We want to minimise trade friction while ensuring consumer, environmental and worker protections are not allowed to suffer.

“There is already widespread support for the Scottish Government’s plan to uphold environmental standards following the UK’s exit from the EU and we are working hard to protect consumers by introducing the Consumer Scotland Bill creating the new advocacy and advice body Consumer Scotland by 2021.

“It is also essential that workers’ rights are fully protected. Of course, only the transfer of responsibility for all powers over employment laws will enable the Scottish Parliament to ensure that this is the case.

“The people of Scotland should not have fewer protections than our friends and neighbours within the EU as a result of a Brexit that we didn’t vote for. We want to maintain regulatory alignment with the EU and ensure that any new deals are not used as an excuse for a race to the bottom when it comes to standards for trade.”

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