Readers' letters: Kenny MacAskill’s wrong on Aussie trade deal

" Since Brexit, the UK government has signed trade deals with nearly 70 countries including the EU”

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 7:00 am
UK secretary of state for international trade Liz Truss, left, and Australia’s trade minister Dan Tehan

Kenny’s wrong on Aussie trade deal

The ex-SNP, now Alba MP, Kenny MacAskill has made the absurd comparison of the proposed UK/Australia trade deal with the Highland Clearances.

Mr MacAskill’s concerns about this trade deal are misplaced, with the UK government having given a number of assurances, including retaining existing standards, a 10 year+ transition period to tariff and quota-free access for sensitive sectors and no access for hormone-injected beef.

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A UK/Australia trade deal would boost trade and investment in future-facing industries like services, low-carbon technology and digital trade.

It would also be a significant boost to Scottish industries like financial services, food and drink manufacturing and the 800 Scottish businesses who already export £321 million worth of goods to Australia.

Scotland sells £12.5 million worth of medicinal and pharmaceutical products to Australia, despite import tariffs. A UK-Australia deal would increase these exports by the removal of tariffs, cutting red tape and aligning regulations. Scottish machinery and tractors also stand to benefit from such tariff removal.

Any agreement would also be a crucial gateway for Scottish businesses into the Asia-Pacific free trade area, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership(CPTPP) which cuts import tariffs on 95 per cent of goods traded between members.

Since Brexit, the UK government has signed trade deals with nearly 70 countries, including the EU. Last week, a further deal was signed with Norway, Iceland and Liechenstein.

Mr MacAskill’s negativity towards the UK/Australia deal reflects both the SNP’s and Alba Party’s insular approach and lack of commercial understanding, especially as neither have ever supported a British government negotiated trade deal .

Tim Jackson, Whim Road, Gullane.

G7 should take stand on animal welfare

Every individual taking part in the G7 talks should state whether they consume an animal-based diet. We could then see the participants who genuinely care about the less well off.

Every year countries in the west import huge amounts of food from countries where people are starving, to provide food for animals, to fatten them up for eating. While they continue to consume animal flesh and dairy products, they are complicit in causing people to starve.

Many made fun of Greta Thunberg when she started talking about climate change. But being also concerned about the starving and the cruelty suffered by animals in the animal food industry, she became vegan.

Greta practices what she preaches. Others older and supposedly wiser could learn a lot from her - and follow her example.

Sandra Busell, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh.

Gas power still crucial

Despite the exaggerated boasts of the wind industry, gas power plants in the UK are preventing blackouts and economic ruin.

The site grid.iamkate.com records the source of electricity sent to the UK National Grid. In the last 30 days between 9-11am gas plants outperformed renewables on 20 days.

On 10 days gas produced over 50 per cent of our electricity and on 21 days gas electricity was supplying over 40 per cent to the grid.

Renewables could only manage two days over 40 per cent and on 16 days was under 20 per cent.

Gas electricity is keeping the lights on, not unreliable, expensive wind electricity.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow.