The UK government has acted on requests that it seek the same derogations for Scottish seed potatoes that allowed imports to the EU from parts of Canada. Imports of seed potatoes to the EU from non-EU countries are prohibited, except in the case of Switzerland which complies with EU regulations and, unusually, parts of Canada some 20 years ago.
Prior to the UK leaving the European Union, Scottish seed potatoes were a crucial import for markets in the continent. More than 75 percent of Britain's seed potato exports comes from Scotland, with the country exporting seed to 18 EU countries in 2020/21. However, since January 2021, Scottish farmers have been unable to export seed potatoes to the bloc, including Northern Ireland, because of changes in trade regulations.
Gordon MP Richard Thomson, who has been campaigning for the government to restore access to the export markets in the EU for Scottish seed potatoes, has given a cautious welcome to the new development. He wrote to the then Defra Secretary Ranil Jayawardena in October, asking “whether you will explore new ways in which this [the resumption of exports] can be achieved, for example, by seeking to obtain the same derogation that was granted to certain locations in Canada”.