American negotiators urged to push the UK into scrapping regulations on pesticides, genetically-modified crops, and the production of chicken and meat products
'American agriculture interests have flooded the US government’s trade agency with demands to pressure the UK into slashing food standards after Brexit, official documents show.
Earlier this week the US trade representative closed its consultation with stakeholders on objectives for post-Brexit trade negotiations with the UK.
Responses to the consultation, which was launched late last year, were dominated by the powerful food and agriculture lobby, which made nearly a quarter of the total submissions received — far more than any other sector of the US economy.
The comments, made by corporations and trade associations representing thousands of US businesses, urge US negotiators to press the UK into scrapping or weakening regulations that govern pesticides, genetically-modified crops, and the production of chicken and meat products as part of a post-Brexit trade deal.
Shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner warned that lowering standards could lead to a race-to-the-bottom, telling Unearthed: “We cannot countenance any agreement that would lower our food standards or allow products into the United Kingdom that are produced to lower standards.”
In its submission, global agri-industry giant Cargill said the US “should seek complete agricultural market access for its firms” and “eliminate intended or unintended non-tariff barriers in the agriculture sector.”
In this context non-tariff barriers are rules that restrict trade from one market to another, such as the EU’s ban on the use of growth hormones in imported beef.
The powerful American Farm Bureau Federation said that “full recognition of the safety of the US agricultural and food system must be included.”
This would mean that products such as hormone beef, chlorine washed chicken and genetically modified potatoes could be sold in the UK.
It could also mean that the UK may be forced to permit the sale of fruit and vegetables grown with pesticides that are banned in the EU on environmental and safety grounds.
The Bureau added that the UK should “restore science as the basis for food safety regulation” by eliminating all restrictions on US agricultural exports.
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) specifies “the elimination of all sanitary and phytosanitary [SPS] barriers to pork”, including measures designed to restrict the use of growth promoters such as Ractopamine and to prevent tapeworm and antibiotic resistance.'
Read more: US agribusiness lobby calls on Trump to target UK food and environment rules in Brexit trade deal