OBR has 'hugely underestimated' potential of Brexit says Dolan
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Salmon Scotland’s economic report published today shows 97,835 tonnes of fish was exported in 2021. The figure is four percent higher than in 2019, the last year before the Covid pandemic and Brexit.
The total value of exports marginally dropped by one percent – £614million – compared to 2019.
The EU market accounted for approximately two-thirds of Scottish salmon exports as part of the product’s sales to 50 countries around the world.
Last spring, shortly after the end of the EU transition period and the implementation of the new free trade deal with the bloc, fisheries warned new customs checks at the border were having a negative impact of exports to the EU.
Official figures showed exports of salmon to the continent dropped by 98 percent in January 2021 compared to the previous year.
Critics of Brexit complained new paperwork and customs checks on goods travelling to the continent meant it was taking hours or even days for seafood orders to be processed for travel.
They warned the sector had been devastated by quitting the EU.
However, ministers said the outbreak of the Alpha variant in the UK last winter was responsible for a huge percentage fall in exports to the continent.
Lord Frost said at the time that “caution should be applied when interpreting” the reasons behind the drop off in trade at the start of 2021.
He said on top of Brexit there had been “evidence of stockpiling” in December 2020 and the impact of “Covid lockdowns across Europe bringing reduced demand for goods overall”.
Vindicating his claims, Salmon Scotland analysis of today’s figures said over the course of 2021 there had been sales recovery in markets such as France and the US as well as high growth in China and Singapore.
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Salmon Scotland’s chief executive, Tavish Scott, said the industry was “a global success story, with Scottish salmon “comfortably the UK’s biggest food export”.
He added: “The quality of Scotland’s produce is widely recognised in our largest markets of France, the US and China, and we are also seeing sharp increases in newer international markets.
“All this is testament to the hard work and dedication of Scotland’s farmers, who produce a world-leading product that makes a massive contribution to our economy and people’s health.”
Salmon beats bread and pastries, chocolate, cereals, and cheese to be the UK’s biggest food export.
A UK Government spokesman said: “We are delighted that salmon exports are surging – it’s testament to the quality of a renowned product.
“We work closely with Salmon Scotland through our Scottish Seafood Industry Action Group and other forums, helping them to speed salmon to customers at home and abroad.
“The UK Government is determined to help the seafood industry as a whole maximise new opportunities, to the benefit of our coastal communities.
“The trade deals we are striking now can help Scottish food and drink producers reach customers in a genuinely global market.”
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