The UK's trade deal with New Zealand will 'damage' Scotland's farmers by allowing much higher quantities of produce to come tariff-free, Scottish ministers have warned.
In a joint letter to the UK government, ministers said the free trade agreement would leave "a lack of a level playing field between Scottish and New Zealand farmers."
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon and Trade Minister Ivan McKee pointed to what appeared to be a "stark contrast" with the agreement that the EU had secured with New Zealand.
They explained that this deal secured the same market access for its exporters but "seemingly with better safeguards for its domestic producers".
Ms Gougeon and Mr McKee said the UK’s deal “emphasises the futility and economic self-harm of the UK government leaving the EU, making its own trade agreements, and then ending up with a worse deal than if we had stayed in the EU”.
In the first year of the FTA, the UK will allow 12,000 tonnes of New Zealand beef into the country, while the EU has agreed to only 3,333 tonnes across all 27 EU countries.
By year 15, the UK government will allow 60,000 tonnes of New Zealand beef, and after that an unlimited quantity.
Meanwhile, the EU's trade deal with New Zealand will cap imports at 10,000 tonnes, and still apply a 7.5% tariff.
Ms Gougeon and Mr McKee called on the UK government to set out "what mitigations and compensation it will put in place for economic sectors and communities that suffer as a result of the trade deals."
The letter said: "It is clear from looking at the outcome of the EU – NZ negotiations that they have succeeded in getting an agreement that delivers a similar level of benefit to the UK – NZ FTA, while maintaining stronger controls on agri-food imports and protections for domestic producers.
"It is telling to look at the industry reaction in New Zealand. The New Zealand Meat Industry Association has said in relation to the EU-New Zealand FTA: 'We are extremely disappointed that this agreement does not deliver commercially meaningful access for our exporters, in particular for beef'.
"In contrast they welcomed the UK-New Zealand FTA saying: 'This deal will deliver a major boost for sheep and beef farmers and exporters'."
The letter follows a recent report by the AHDB which highlighted how New Zealand farmers would see far greater benefits compared to UK farmers.