UK and US trade deal 'needs to be based' on US pig standards

The US pig group said trade negotiations with the UK will be a "non-starter" if American standards aren't accepted
The US pig group said trade negotiations with the UK will be a "non-starter" if American standards aren't accepted

Any trade agreement with the UK and US post-Brexit needs to be based on US production practices, a major American pig group has said.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), which represents American pig farmers, says any trade agreement involving the US and the UK must include the elimination of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers on pork.

Last week, on the heels of the successful conclusion of negotiations aimed at modernising trade agreements with Canada and Mexico and South Korea, the Trump administration announced that it will initiate trade negotiations with the EU, Japan and the UK.

The Council says that in terms of negotiations with the EU and the UK, US pork producers will only support a deal that eliminates both tariffs and non-tariff barriers on pork.

Senior Communications Director, Jim Monroe said: "Very positive news that we're going to start those discussions but we believe, US pork producers believe that any trade agreement with the UK and with the European Union needs to be based on international or US production practices.

"Right now there's some significant differences in terms of acceptable production practices between the European, the UK and the US."

Mr Monroe added: "If European standards are the focus of those discussions we won't see too much value in those trade agreement so that's pretty much a non-starter for us."

The NPPC said it is "very interested" in wanting to see a free trade deal between the US and UK.

Mr Monroe said: "If we can compete on a level playing field, we're going to do extremely well but the production practices that it's based on have to be aligned with our interests."

NPPC said "positive momentum" on the trade front has been seen and, as access is opened to new markets, as long as it's on a level playing field US pork, can compete "very well" against any other nation.

It follows news of the International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox explaining how it is “categorically untrue" that UK food and farming standards will be lowered as it leaves the EU.

In the US, the government permits such practices as chlorinated chicken, which consists of dipping meat into chlorinated water to prevent microbial contamination.

But this practice is banned in the EU, which fears the practice could actually worsen safety standards.

Indeed, a report has warned of the potential increase in cheaper, lower standard food imports to the UK which could put British farmers at a competitive disadvantage.

As reported by Bruce Cochrane, Farmscape.Ca