US Urge UK To Liberalise Its Agriculture Markets In New Trade Agreement

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News in brief: The United States is pressing the United Kingdom to open its agriculture markets to its products as part of a new economic agreement. Experts say that negotiations may face challenges as UK regulators will continue to resist American food that don’t meet its standards.

The United States (US) is urging the United Kingdom (UK) to liberalise its agriculture markets to its products as part of a new economic agreement, which would be less comprehensive than a free trade agreement.

Both countries have begun negotiating a foundational trade partnership that would cover digital trade, labour protections, and agriculture. However, it would not guarantee any particular levels of access for service providers to offer their products in each other’s countries, which means it falls short of the full free trade agreement that was promised by Brexit supporters, a report by The Guardian notes.

Experts believe the talks could run into trouble, especially over agriculture. In previous free trade talks, the UK refused to open its markets to American food products like include chlorine-washed chicken or hormone-injected beef. Also, it comes at a time when the UK assured its local farmers that their products will get more priority both domestically and internationally.

Meanwhile, the UK government says it is rapidly expanding its economic, technological, commercial, and trade relations with the US. It says it is doing this through the Atlantic declaration. Discussions on next steps under this agreement are ongoing.

British prime Minister Rishi Sunak is hoping to conclude a free trade agreement with India this year as well, which is being touted as the biggest such deal since Britain left the EU.

According to a government timeline, the India deal will remain the priority. However, work on the US agreement will begin in earnest in the new year. This is with a view to completing it before both countries hold their general elections.

Consequently, work on separate agreements with Canada and Mexico will be slowed down with agriculture as the major hurdle. The UK Environment Department insists that it should not open up to American food products, that have been produced to lower regulatory standards.

Prime Minister Sunak could decide to overrule the environment department, or risk the US walking away from the negotiations.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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