"Do not betray the UK pig sector", urges NPA
Currently, the UK Government has promised not to compromise the British farming system by accepting any kind of deal in trade negotiations conducted with the US or any other state but the danger is still present as Theresa May will leave vacant the PM chair.
A post-Brexit US-UK trade deal was on the agenda again, as president Donald Trump visited the UK this week, telling outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May he is expecting a ‘very, very substantial trade deal’, notes NPA.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Defra Secretary Michael Gove have both repeatedly insisted UK farming would not be compromised by post-Brexit trade deals. But in reality, neither will be in post as the negotiations unfold, if, as is widely expected, Mr. Gove moves to a new role under the next leader, if he isn't successful.
Differences in how the pigs are being fed and treated across the Atlantic can represent a huge danger for the British industry and it could open a door to pork that would be illegal to produce in the UK.
"When push comes to shove, it might be tempting for the next Prime Minister to make concessions on agriculture to get a deal through in order to benefit other sectors of the UK economy. But this would disastrous for UK pork producers and consumers.
While there has been a lot of focus on chlorine-washed chicken and hormone beef, there is also a huge gap in standards between the UK and US pig sectors – from the use of ractopamine to the continued use of sow stalls and much higher use of antibiotics in the US.
As a result, US pork is much cheaper to produce. Allowing products made using methods banned in the UK into the country would be a betrayal of UK pig producers and the high standards of production they are proud to adhere to. It would also be hugely unpopular with consumers,” declared NPA chief executive Zoe Davies.
On the other hand, Nick Giordano, of the US National Pork Producers Council, outlined some of the practices the industry would insist on being permitted, including:
- Replacing the current Tariff Rate Quotas with zero-tariff access for US pork.
- Dropping barriers to trade based on pork produced with feed additive ractopamine.
- Dropping the EU requirement that the US conduct trichinae risk mitigation, such as testing or freezing as a condition for market access.
- Permitting ‘Pathogen Reduction Treatments’ in meat production.
- Recognizing the US plant inspection system as equivalent to the UK system and allowing the importation of pork from USDA-approved plants without equivocation.
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