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            december 13, 2018

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US calls on UK to get rid of EU rules post Brexit to boost trade


Undersecretary for trade at the US Department of Agriculture, Ted McKinney, says "there is a much greater opportunity for trade between the UK and US," if Prime Minister Theresa May ditches some EU rules on farming and food processing.
"We hope that the UK will look for its own food standards, environmental safety protocols," Mr McKinney said in an interview on the fringes of a farming conference in Oxford last week.
"We find the EU a very difficult place to do business and so we hope that as part of Brexit, the reset button can at least be considered."
The British Prime Minister wants a trade deal with the US and has discussed the matter with President Donald Trump. Working groups have begun to map out the shape of the agreement, which both sides say they would like to conclude quickly after Brexit. Britain is prevented from conducting formal trade talks with any country until it leaves the European Union in March 2019, according to Bloomberg.
Despite these plans, trade relations soured because of a row between the two countries last year over food standards that focused on the issue of US chlorine-treated poultry. Mr McKinney said the US is "sick and tired" of hearing from Britain that American chicken isn't safe to eat.
"We would like all of British society to understand that is not a practice that's in use very much," Mr McKinney said. "The quality of our poultry, we'd put up against UK poultry any day of the week and twice on Sunday."
American products are every bit as good as British food and Michael Gove, the British environment secretary, has privately assured US officials that he would try to draw a line under the chicken dispute because it was not fair to American poultry producers, Mr McKinney said.
Asked what Mr Gove had promised, Mr McKinney said: "That he would not conflate chlorinated chicken" with food safety standards.
Speaking to reporters at the same conference, Mr Gove said he couldn't "preempt" what would result from any trade deal with the US. He promised there would be no reduction in animal welfare standards and other quality safeguards, London's Air Cargo News reported.

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