Arbroath Smokies will be protected from US knock-off threat, Scottish Secretary pledges

© PA
David Mundell

American rip-offs of Scottish favourites like Arbroath Smokies will be banned in any future trade deal, says the UK Government.

David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, said name protections for locally-tied products will remain in place after Brexit.

Lobbyists in the States have been calling for Britain to drop the EU geographical indications, which shield products such as Scotch whisky from imitations.

It led to fears a future US-UK trade deal would spell disaster for some of Scotland’s favourite brands, with implications for Leven’s Diageo workers and Angus sellers of the Arbroath Smokie.

Complaining of “scare stories” at Scottish Questions in the Commons, Mr Mundell said: “There will be no change to the protection of these brands, or the allowing in of false brands purporting to be them.”

The position marks a shift in the UK Government position, which has said existing EU arrangements are subject to the negotiations.

Earlier, Kirstene Hair, the Scottish Conservative MP for Angus, said iconic Scots produce “can and must continue to receive PGI (Protected Geographical Status) status”.

“No-one in government is suggesting that will end when we leave the EU,” she said.

The GMB “cautiously welcomed” Mr Mundell’s pledge, but questioned if his words “carry sufficient weight in a divided cabinet” and whether “they will stand the test of time”.

Referring to the ongoing threat to the whisky industry in areas including Fife, GMB Scotland senior organiser Louise Gilmour said: “These workers need assurances that their livelihoods aren’t for sale as part of future trade deals in the post-Brexit environment.”

Earlier this week, Shawna Morris, of the US Dairy Export Council, told the i newspaper that “preposterous” rules for “monopolising” products should be reconsidered.

Paul Robison, the chairman of Trade Justice Dundee, said it would be a “calamity for Scottish produce” if the protections were lost.