The US Trade Representative – Donald Trump’s chief negotiator – last night informed the US Congress that the United States intended to open formal trade negotiations with the United Kingdom immediately if the UK leaves the European Union.
Robert E. Lighthizer made it clear that any negotiations would be based on the mandate given under Section 102 of the US Trade Priorities and Accountability Act, which:
- In Section 102(3)(I)(ii) mandates US negotiators to seek to remove what it calls: “unjustified trade restrictions or commercial requirements, such as labelling, that affect new technologies , including biotechnologies;”.
- In Section 102(3)(I)(iii) mandates US negotiators to seek to remove what it calls: “unjustified sanitary or phytosanitary restrictions”.
- In Section 102(3)(U) mandates US negotiators to seek: “eliminating and preventing the undermining of market access for United States products through improper use of a country’s system for protecting or recognizing geographical indications”.
Commenting, Jo Stevens MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“Donald Trump and Liam Fox are determined to force chlorinated chicken, hormone-fed beef and even accept orange juice that contains maggots on British consumers.
“And President Trump wants to destroy the brand value of iconic British foods like Cornish Pasties, Welsh Lamb and Arbroath Smokies by allowing imported knock-offs to claim the right to market themselves using these names.
“Section 102 of the US Trade Priorities and Accountability Act could not be clearer – the aim of US negotiators is to reduce food protection standards to the US level and to abolish geographical indicators.
“This is what the United States means when it says it wants to remove non-tariff barriers and Liam Fox never denies it. Instead he issues a standard ‘non-denial denial’ that fails to address any of the key issues.
“British consumers do not want this, did not vote for it and will not stand for it. It is disgraceful that Brexit is being used as a cover to reduce food standards and consumer protection. It is just another reason why Saturday will see the biggest Brexit protest yet as thousands march from Park Lane to Parliament to demand a People’s Vote on any Brexit deal.”
Notes to editors:
The US Trade Representative’s Letter can be read here: https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/20181017004930805-3.pdf
The US Trade Priorities and Accountability Act can be read here: http://uscode.house.gov/statviewer.htm?volume=129&page=320