A US negotiating document demands the UK relax its agriculture standards to get a post-Brexit trade deal
Chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef could be coming to British supermarket shelves, after a US trade document called for standards to be relaxed as part of a trade agreement.
US officials set out the need for “comprehensive market access” for American agricultural goods in a 15-page document outlining its key negotiating objectives for any post-Brexit trade deal.
In the document, the Office of the US Trade Representative said it would seek to “establish a mechanism to remove expeditiously unwarranted barriers that block the export of US food and and agricultural products”.
It also sets out an objective to “secure comprehensive market access for U.S. agricultural goods in the UK by reducing or eliminating tariffs,” putting US-based meat products on the same level as British beef and pork.
US President Donald Trump talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May
US President Donald Trump had claimed that the UK will be at the front of the queue for a trade deal after Brexit, but campaigners have warned about the potential impact of bringing the UK’s standards in line with the US market.
‘UK standards must not be sacrificed’
The UK’s National Farmers Union warned the government not to “sacrifice” world-leading British agriculture standards to secure an agreement.
In a release, the group’s President Minette Batters warned: “It is imperative that any future trade deals, including a possible deal with the USA, do not allow the imports of food produced to lower standards than those required of British farmers.
“British people value and demand the high standards of animal welfare, environmental protection and food safety that our own farmers adhere to.
“These world-leading standards must not be sacrificed in the pursuit of reaching rushed trade deals. We should not accept trade deals which allow food to be imported into this country produced in ways which would be illegal here.”
The body called on politicians to make clear that “food imports into the UK [must be] produced to at least our own high standards.”
The RSPCA also warned that “cruel farming practices” banned in the UK could return under the deal.
David Bowles of the animal welfare charity warned “We cannot allow the US to open the flood gates to imported goods produced under much lower farm animal welfare standards than we currently accept. Farmers here could be undercut by these cheaper, lower-quality imports with shoppers facing products currently illegal.”
A Downing Street spokesperson insisted: “We have always been very clear that we will not lower our food standards as part of a future trading agreement.”
The US Ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson, also hit out at the claims in a Telegraph column.
Johnson described the US agricultural practices of chlorine-washing chicken and feeding growth hormones to cattle as “the future of farming”, dismissing concerns as “fear-mongering.”
The ambassador criticised the EU agricultural standards the UK follows, claiming they have created a “Museum of Agriculture.”
The document also sets out the need for the relaxing of UK industrial regulations through “greater regulatory compatibility.”
With many thanks to: Inews for the original story