Could post-Brexit US/UK trade deal see British food standards plummet?

Posted July 26, 2017

As Samuel Lowe, a trade expert at the charity Friends of the Earth, explained in a blog in March, any trade deal with the US would aim to make regulations in America and Britain more similar to each other.

"The UK poultry meat industry stands committed to feeding the nation with nutritious food and any compromise on standards will not be tolerated".

US president Donald Trump accused the European Union of being "protectionist", while claiming that a UK-US trade deal is being negotiated.

Fox, a leading proponent of Brexit, came under fire during his trip to say explicitly whether the United Kingdom was prepared to lift its ban on the treated chickens.

"I think we'd have to be very clear that it was time-limited, and limited in scope", he said.

Rushing into a "politically attractive" trade deal with the United States risks exposing British firms to hostile takeovers from cash-rich, "predatory" cash-rich American firms.

Mr Fox's stance appeared to put him at odds with other members of the government - notably environment secretary Michael Gove - who have pledged to protect Britain's animal welfare standards.

Removing commercial barriers with the US could generate an additional $52 billion in trade with the U.K.by 2030, Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Sunday as he warned that reaching a deal won't be easy.

"As an organisation, we seek to provide a strong voice so the views of the business community are heard by those involved in the negotiation". "We won't accept a race to the bottom on standards".

Claude Barfield, the AEI resident scholar on trade who interviewed Fox and fielded questions, noted the USA has entered into an agreement with China to import cooked Chinese chicken, and said if the British do not want to eat chlorine-washed US chicken, they can eat Chinese chicken. The Treasury said the report shows why it is "vitally important" to secure the "very best deal" on Brexit.

Opening of global trade "facilitated 70 years of global prosperity, and they have raised the living standards of hundreds of millions of people across the world", he said.

Questioned about whether he would eat such chicken, Fox said the media was "obsessed" by a "detail of the very end stage of one sector of the potential agreement".

European Union guidance suggests washing chickens in chlorine could lead to worsening of standards in abattoirs, who would rely on the chlorine as a decontaminant and that the chemical washes could be used by unscrupulous producers to make meat appear fresher that it was.