10 November 1998
Scottish farming faces tough time with the Euro

SCOTTISH agriculture and its associated industries are likely to come off worse when 11 European Union states begin trading in Euros on 1 January, according to Brian Pack, chief executive of the ANM Group.

Mr Pack told the annual conference of the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS): “Given that agriculture across Europe is subject to a common policy, this move by our main trading partners will have major implications for our industry.”

He said that UK farming would suffer from currency fluctuations and the added cost of converting currencies. It would also be at a disadvantage from interest rate penalties.

Mr Packs forecast that all trade will be done in Euros was shared by Jeremy Peat, the chief economist with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

He said: “The facts are simple. As from 1 January, Europe will be equal to the US in terms of being the worlds largest trading bloc. It is a dramatic new development which we neglect at our peril.”

SAOS chief executive James Graham had a more domestic perspective on events. He suggested that the time was right for the industry to think about pooling its financial resources.

He said the industry needed to strengthen its position to cope with international prices and every effort must be made to keep downstream activities, such as meat processing, in Scottish hands.