EXCL Britain won’t 'be told what to do' by Donald Trump on food standards, says minister
The UK will not give in to the United States by lowering food standards to seal a trade deal, the farming minister has said.
In a warning shot to Washington, George Eustice said accepting produce after Brexit that was currently banned under EU rules was a “no go area” for the Government.
His comments came amid fears that ministers may bow to the Trump administration by allowing imports of chlorinated chicken and hormone-pumped beef when crunch talks begin next year.
Speaking to The House magazine, Mr Eustice said people needed to be “less spooked” by other countries’ demands.
When asked whether Donald Trump's uncompromising “America first” attitude worried the Government, he said: “I think our stance should be, as a country, that we have values and standards that we will not abandon, and that we take animal welfare very seriously and we want to project our values on animal welfare around the world.”
“But that we are a liberal free trading country and so having a sensible discussion on a particular tariff rate quota – what we call a TRQ which is a tariff free allocation from a particular country – well that’s one thing, but asking us to change our rules and regulations, that’s a bit of a no go area as far as I’m concerned.
“We haven’t just left the European Union just to be told what to do by another set of countries.”
The intervention comes ahead of the US President's first official visit to the UK since taking office, later this week.
Mr Eustice also denied there was a rift between the Government’s environment and trade departments, insisting both sides are now “saying exactly the same sorts of things.”
It comes after chlorinated chicken, which is banned by the EU, was the subject of a major row last year between Michael Gove and Liam Fox.
Mr Gove insisted his department would block a trade deal with the US if negotiators relaxed Britain’s stance, while the UK’s top trade negotiator Mr Fox said he would have “no objection” to the product being sold after Brexit.
A poll by the Independent in April revealed a whopping 82% of the public put keeping the UK’s high standards ahead of reaching a favourable trade relationship.