MARTIN Williams points up the danger from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) to Scotland’s food brands (“Arbroath smokies hung out to dry”, The Herald, February 13). Whilst this aspect is indeed important, it represents the mere tip of the iceberg. Due to the fact that this EU-Canada free trade deal has been negotiated in secret for nine years and that International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has denied Parliament a debate on it on the floor in Westminster, there are few people in Scotland who have absorbed the many other negative implications of this trade agreement for Scotland.

However, what is most important for us to acknowledge is that Keith Brown, the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, announced that the Scottish NHS has not been exempted from CETA. Other countries like Germany have made sure that their whole health system is protected, by specifically indicating that it will not be open to privatisation through CETA. Britain has only exempted the private ambulance service.

In addition, CETA still contains a mechanism whereby American companies will be able to sue the Scottish Government for introducing any legislation which might affect their profits. Should the Scottish Government wish to turn the present moratorium on fracking into a permanent ban, the fear of being sued for a huge sum could colour this decision.

One of the most significant factors in the silence and lack of information surrounding CETA has been the reluctance of our Scottish MEPs to engage in any dialogue concerning CETA. They have steadfastly declined to address public meetings or attend private appointments, and have rarely properly answered written questions addressed to them.

Is it any wonder that when the final vote on CETA takes place in the European Parliament today (February 15), most of Scotland will be almost totally unaware of the extent of the dangers this toxic deal presents, not just to Scotland’s famous food brands, but to our health service, to food safety, to employment, and the environment?

Jean Kemp,

St Andrews TTIP Action Group,

16 Learmonth Place, St Andrews.

Read more: Anger as iconic Scots food brands are placed 'at risk' by EU-Canada free trade deal