Secret letter from BJ. "US-UK Deal 'Unlikely' by year end' says US Trade Representative Robert Lightizer (0n left of Trump). He told their House Ways & Means Committee that securing a US-UK trade deal by the end of the year is "a very, very, very quick time. I think it’s unlikely that that happens"
Cabinet divided. A letter from No 10 "reveals serious cabinet unrest over the shape of a US deal and appears to suggest UK regulations could be changed to accommodate an agreement. It also makes clear that talks were to be used to “maximise leverage” in trade negotiations with the EU. "
May 5 Chuck Grassley, the Republican senator from the farming state of Iowa who chairs the US senate, said as far as he was concerned, getting banned US food on British plates wasn't just part of the deal, it was the deal. "All I'm hoping to do is if we get a good deal with the UK on agriculture, it's going to embarrass Europe".
PM BJ said at Greenwich "While reiterating that the UK would not accept a ‘diminution of standards’ on food hygiene or animal welfare in a future US deal, Britain would be ‘governed by science, not mumbo-jumbo’ when looking at whether imported food was acceptable for consumption in the UK." He criticised ‘America bashers’ who take a ‘hysterical’ attitude towards US food and view it as inferior’ .
The US National Grain and Feed Association and North American Export Grain Association said a new deal could create a trans-Atlantic market" that can act as a bastion against the EU's precautionary advances and its ongoing aggressive attempts to spread its influence around the globe".
Nov '19 Explosive leaked trade papers show that while NHS 'up for sale', our food standards are heading for the bin..see rt hand column
Oct '19 Johnson moves to scrap environmental standards for deal with Trump. "US trade officials appeared to have been in contact with British negotiators and told them standards would need to be slashed if there was any chance of a US trade deal....EU officials say that British negotiators are particularly keen to jettison EU restrictions on genetically modified foods – a key demand of American trade negotiators."
Sept '19. Defra secretary Theresa Villiers tells @CommonsEFRA that on future US trade deals she will not let "chlorinated chicken or hormone tread beef" in. She also said "I was with the US ambassador last week and he was clear that if food was deemed safe, it should be part of any US & UK deal."
Trump & UK Agribusiness long wanted "to dismantle our food and farming standards to enable American products to enter our markets... We would be essentially importing an even more intensive, fossil fuel-based agriculture from the US, which would undermine our efforts to tackle climate change."
Nov '19 "The US is pushing lower food standards on Britain post Brexit, including allowing imports of chlorine-washed chickens (2nd working group, p 42), less nutritional labelling on foods (2nd working group, p 42), and less protection for regional food like Stilton cheese (1st working group, p 41). (See Geographic Status below) Full textsThe US offered to help the UK government ‘sell’ chlorine chicken to a sceptical British public and stated that parliamentary scrutiny of food standards is ‘unhelpful’ (2nd working group, pp 42-43).
When BJ talks about 'Science rather than Mumbo Jumbo he is using US speak about the so-called science-based approach in US for a regulatory system that assumes a process is fine unless it has been proven unsafe. The EU takes the opposite approach - the precautionary approach - which is not “mumbo-jumbo”.
Fat cokeThis is a fabulous metaphor for US foreign food policy - 'Diet' (coke) sounds good, but you/we end up consuming more food.
Doing a Deal
UK government pushing ahead with trade deal with no mandate (Aug 19). While snubbing EU leaders, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Trade Secretary Liz Truss have been in Washington DC to talk trade with US officials. "Both ministers are well known opponents of the sort of regulations and protections that would be threatened by a US trade deal"
Trump negotiators say that UK must fall in line with tough US sanctions against Chinese giant Huawei or there will be no trade deal.
The Trump administration is seeking to eliminate or reduce barriers for US agricultural products. The outline requirements were published by the office of the US trade representative (USTR)
US Envoy accused EU of 'Museum of Agriculture'
Only soya can be considered for negotiation. 'France’s powerful farm lobby has long resisted any opening up. Agriculture is explicitly excluded from the text. It is as simple as that," said one senior EU official. It was not well received by the farm lobby in the US, increasingly critical of Trump following his trade war with China. Despite him giving them £12b, this goes nowhere to making up for the fall in soya prices.
EU fearful of US getting chlorinated boots on the shores of Europe. UK is drop in ocean for US multinationals but the larger target market - Europe - comes a lot closer for them
“There are big potential savings for UK consumers when it comes to agricultural produce. Thanks to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, its common external tariff and quota regimes, and its use of the precautionary principle to ban non-EU products from the market, British consumers have for decades suffered higher food prices and more limited choice. US exporters of agricultural produce - beef, for instance - would have a brand new market to sell to, and British consumers a cheaper alternative to the current options."
"The British public has repeatedly made clear that they don’t care for chickens washed in chlorine, nor for cows stuffed with hormones, or pigs full of antibiotics. These methods of industrial farming, horrific for the animals involved and disastrous for small farmers’ livelihoods, proliferate in the US. But a trade deal with Britain, Trump says, must allow these products into UK markets. "
The US uses five times as many anti-biotices as used in UK - which we use only when needed, rather than as in US - prophylactically (ie 'just in case'). "In the US, use is 9 to 16 times higher per livestock unit for beef cattle, three times higher for chickens, twice as high for pigs and five times higher for turkeys than it is in the UK." many are concerned that this exacerbates already growing concerns about dangerous bacteria becoming resistance to our existing antibiotics (more on AMR)
Talking of pigs. "over 60 million pigs in the U.S. are treated with the carbadox antibiotic, which is banned here, but is used in the U.S. to prevent disease and promote animal growth. Four years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that “the drug leaves traces of a cancer-causing residue” in pork.
is a policy initiative shaped in consultation with a group of other conservative libertarian thinktanks (inc Cato Institute) on both sides of the Atlantic Sept 18. They argue for a free trade agreement that would loosen government controls on capital and data flows and be “more liberalising than any other free trade agreement in the world”. They say that it could become a model for future deals post-Brexit. It would remove tariffs and throw out the precautionary principle that has guided much EU regulation on GM foods, chlorine-washed chicken, hormones in meat, pesticides and chemicals in cosmetics. * Around a 100 years ago the 'Cato Street conspiracy'' against the then cabinet was found out and the conspirators killed.
Trump warns that 'May deal' will hamper US-UK trade talks. He said it was good for the EU but may constrict UK doing deals with them.
Over 80% of people polled would prefer to keep to EU food standards rather than lower them for US deal - even if means dumping any UK-US trade deal - and that is equal among Remain and Brexit voters.
These all reflect aspects of the bigger issue - the US 'efficiency' of food production. History shows that the more food produced means lower farmgate prices. A 'good' harvest produces less money - apples are left on the ground to rot. To make up for this tendency, food has to be produced 'more efficiently'. The USA have been overproducing since the last world war, so they have driven 'efficiency' more.
We in the UK produce only half the food we eat, so are a target for US food exports. EU subsidies have protected farm and food producers. The US will challenge the science of any of our 'ban's' (properly called sanitary measures) - they are allowed to under WTO rules. Where the US may have 'lost' various challenges versus the EU, we are in a weaker position. Trump established a task force early on to promote US agriculture including its exports. They want to remove agricultural trade barriers with EU - which they consider are not 'science-based'. See Bittersweet Brexit Sect 3 on 'Science' for details of possible debates around chemicals, additives, GMOs and other practices. The US will try to impose their standards in any US-UK deal, as this is how they produce what they do profitably. It is not just meat we need to look out for, as the US will want to export all of the food products they overproduce, particularly grain and corn.
US Farm Bureau tell us to accept their standards so they can increase their market - for getting rid of their excess food production.
Bacon from US-UK trade deal would open door to meat containing banned growth promoters, from pigs kept in conditions banned in UK
US lobbyists are calling for UK to drop geographical name protection. Under EU law, PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) protects foods such as Cornish pasties, Melton Mowbray pies and Scotch Whisky. The US has challenged to whole process of GI through the WTO. The US Dairy Export Council blasted the “preposterous” rules which allow Italy to “monopolise” terms like Parmesan, saying “We think the ability to take a fresh look at UK regulation through the Brexit process provides the UK with a great opportunity for taking a much more reasonable approach to what’s been a very controversial issue over the years". They want to make their own versions of our 85 protected products, including Arbroath Smokies, Herefordshire Perry and Swaledale Cheese. Whether the EU continue to protect our GI products, once we leave, has yet to be decided
Such a cultural food symbol is so important we protect its status. Only people in the surrounds of Melton Mowbray can claim to make them are genuine. This right is called 'Protected Geographic Status. When it says 'protected' - who do you think protects it? Er, the EU. Anybody trying to sell pork pies not produced there, in their traditional ways, cannot sell them in the EU. They are protected from impersonators - especially in the frame of big producers.
If we leave the EU without sorting this out, we loose that protection. Others around the world can start making, selling and calling their products as Stilton cheese, Scotch Whisky, Cornish pasties, Welsh lamb, Newcastle Brown ale, Cumberland sausage -and around another 80+ of our most iconic foods (full list). The mimickers will not risk prosecution.
And guess who wants to do away with all this 'Protected Geographic Status' altogether? Er USA.
White Blood CellsAmerica’s powerful dairy lobby has opened talks with the Trump administration about a future UK-US trade deal and indicated it wants to see Britain relax its standards on a key measure of milk quality as part of the price for a transatlantic accord. Washington has already said it considers the UK and European Union milk standard to be a “trade barrier”. “Mega-farms” housing up to 36,000 cows at a time in large barns rather than on pasture are increasingly common, have enjoyed a massive export boost in recent years due to the NAFTA free trade deal with Canada and Mexico and are gearing up to to boost exports of powdered milk and cheese to post-Brexit Britain. The US dairy industry is targeting rules on the number of so-called “somatic” cells allowed in milk. These white blood cells are produced by cows to fight bacterial infections and can be an indicator of conditions such as mastitis, a type of udder infection. American rules allow almost double the level of these to be permitted in milk compared with Britain and the EU – 750,000 cells/ml as opposed to 400,000 cells/ml. More Complete document of what US considers 'trade barriers'
Rat HairsOther not-so-good standards: Frozen berries can contain up to four larvae or 10 whole insects per 500g. That doesn't seem too bad - what you may expect from harvesting nature (and see these opinions). The FDA call these sorts of contaminations 'unavoidable defects'. This is the one to worry about: The US Food and Drug Administration allows for five rodent hairs (and 150 insect parts) in every 18oz jar of peanut butter. Where do these 'rodent hairs' come from? It says something about the conditions to make the butter More . The FDA classifies the impacts as either 'aesthetic' - as in this instance - or 'potential health' (for mouldy products). FDA Defects Level Handbook gives details of what is allowed.
In UK we have pretty strict pest control in food processing. in fact it may be affecting birds of prey populations.
In 2019, 72 pesticides approved in the United States are banned or being phased out in the EU "Of the pesticides used in USA agriculture in 2016, 322 million pounds were of pesticides banned in the EU...The EU remains highly competitive as a major agricultural power despite having banned many widely-used, potentially hazardous agricultural pesticides."
The EU "place the burden of proof on the pesticide industry to demonstrate that its product can be used in a way that does not result in harm to humans or the surrounding environment". In the US "the pesticide industry only has to demonstrate that its products “will not generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment,” which is partially defined as “any unreasonable risk to man or the environment, taking into account the economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits of the use of any pesticide"
Included in list of EU banned pesticides, but approved in USA are Phorate, Dichlobenil, Dicrotophos, Chloropicrin and! Paraquat. These last three have increased in usage in last 25 years....working on MRLs
Food SafetyMany here are concerned that any US-UK deal will involve weakening of many animal welfare and food safety standards, like the chickens and beef. However some are also concerned about pesticides. In Dec 2017, the EFRA Select Committee challenged Gove & Eustice (12.00 - 04) on effects of a US deal, in terms of lower standards regarding pesticides, in particular whether we could check for residues of say neonicotinoids, Eustice pointed to the Pesticide Residues in Food Committee's good work. Neonics in food residues are controlled by Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) set by the international UN body called CODEX. Neonics are now banned here.
Increase food safety risks by 10X according to Sustain "The US Centre of Disease Control and Prevention reports around 380 deaths in the US each year attributed to foodborne salmonella poisoning. The most recent epidemiological lab data from Public Health England shows no deaths in England and Wales from salmonella between 2005 and 2015. Salmonella food poisoning is most commonly caused by consumption of contaminated food of animal origin, such as beef, chicken, milk, fish or eggs." That is why we have a system that eliminates salmonella in the chicken flock, whereas the US rely on killing off the stuff -'chlorinating chicken'. In the end we prefer prevention rather than curing contamination.
US Agribusiness lobbies Trump to target our rules on food and environment in any Brexit deal.
Hidden Dangers from Stephen Fry
Liam Fox says Chlorinated chicken is not a matter of food standards but animal welfare.
An instant appetite ruiner. "It was about more than chicken. “It’s about food standards, it’s about worker’s rights, it’s about animal welfare,” she said. It’s also about money: thanks to the less robust regulatory regime, American chicken is a fifth cheaper than its UK counterpart. The chlorine, you get for free."
The Telegraph: Concerns over chlorine-washed chicken could delay US trade deal, says Michael Gove. Media is 'obsessed' with chlorine washed chicken says Liam Fox. We will hear a lot about 'chlorinated chickens', 'hormone beef', and old favourite 'GM corn'; but also check out ractopamine pig. Ractopamine to produce leaner pork is another substance banned in EU but used in USA - where it escapes the USDA organic certificate, as it neither a growth hormone nor an antibiotic.
Allergens & Additives
Difference in Allergen labeling
Foods banned in the EU but not in the US. "The European Union prohibits or severely restricts many food additives that have been linked to cancer that are still used in American-made bread, cookies, soft drinks and other processed foods " Some examples - Potassium bromate and azodicarbonamide (ADA) These additives are commonly added to baked goods, but neither is required, and both are banned in Europe because they may cause cancer. - BHA and BHT These flavor enhancers and preservatives are subject to severe restrictions in Europe but are widely used in American food products.- Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) is used in some citrus-flavored soft drinks like Mountain Dew and some sports drinks to prevent separation of ingredients, but is banned in Europe
Sugars..The most concern for me is all the sugars and sweeteners will wash over us and make us even more obese - already the most obese country in Europe. The Mediterranean diet will be replaced by bowls of cornflakes - coated in HFCS, and baked beans. HFCS is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and produced from corn (thanks to Butz - see below) It is is found as a sweetener in many foods - in the US. HFCS is called Isoglucose in EU, and was subject of most important case in development of the EU parliament when it put a 600% tariff on it. See book for the story. Isoglucose (ie HFCS) is worse for us than our normal sugar - sucrose. See Lustig 'Bitter Truth'. Quotas limiting amount of it grown in the EU have been removed, so there is expected to be a rapid rise homegrown of Isoglucose production and consumption.There are worries about putting on weight following US trade deal - same happened with Mexico. Some years ago, Cargill won claim over Mexican government for putting tax on HFCS. The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes issued a $77m award Ongoing row between Mexico and USA - who accuse Mexico of subsidising and dumping sugar. Coca cola need their sugar. US sugar producers want stricter rules on Mexican imports. If USA does retaliate, Mexico threatens the £18bn imports of US food, which includes 80% of their HFCS exports. Deal done with less refined Mexican sugar exported to USA. None of this is for health reasons - see BB book 'Favourite Foods :Sugar.. The tariffs on HFCS nothing to do with 'health', although fructose worse for us than 'sucrose' but because sugar manufacturers are threatened by HFCS - or 'Isoglucose' as EU calls it. Isoglucose case - possible the biggest in EU history.
TariffsIt is not just standards (Sanitary Measures) that are part of Single Market, but also the tariffs (Customs Union) which are most important. If we reduce or remove the tariffs we had as a part of EU, more US food will come in. There will be strong forces at work to drop tariffs on US food imports - so we can flog them our financial services, white goods - and NHS.A 'shadow' US-UK Trade talk and an Ideal FTA was published by the Initiative for Free Trade (IFT), who launched in Sept 2017 at Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Their US-UK Ideal FTA spells out "There are big potential savings for UK consumers when it comes to agricultural produce. Thanks to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, its common external tariff and quota regimes, and its use of the precautionary principle to ban non-EU products from the market, British consumers have for decades suffered higher food prices and more limited choice. US exporters of agricultural produce - beef, for instance - would have a brand new market to sell to, and British consumers a cheaper alternative to the current options." Unearthed of Greenpeace say:" These plans will absolutely throw agriculture under the bus. The bus with £350m on the side". It says to me 'bugger our farmers and farmworkers'. We spend less than 10% of our earnings now on food - it is not like when the Corn Laws were repealed. 'suffrered?' The retailers tell us all the time about how much choice we have. The IFT includes the Legatum Institute, which we saw in regards to getting rid of subsidies and tariffs like they did in New Zealand.
Tariffs on EU food
US to target key Irish food and drink brands with 25% tariff. Kerrygold and Baileys affected: US to tax EU imports following WTO ruling. The Trump administration unveiled plans to tax EU imports following a WTO ruling on Wednesday. Big win for USA Plans to slap punitive tariffs on about $7.5 billion worth of European aircraft, agricultural and industrial goods later this month after the United States won an important victory in a ruling before the global trade body that handles trade disputes. The action brings a 15-year-old case one step closer to resolution while allowing Trump to impose tariffs with the official blessing of the World Trade Organization.
In a blow to Irish and European food exporters, the Office of the US Trade Representative announced it would impose tariffs of 25 per cent on a range of food products including single-malt Scotch whisky, French wine, Italian cheese, butter, cheese, pork and several drink products, including liqueurs such as Baileys. For some reason Irish whiskey is exempted. The EU has warned that it will be forced to retaliate over the new tariffs. And what is the UK going to do?
US v China trade war could mean 25% tax on US soya to China, that could threaten 1/3 of all US soya. Where might they sell it? We already import £800,000 worth of soya. Why do we import that much? To feed our cattle and to feed ourselves. See cartoon in CAP
Trump compensates US farmers. "US farmers have been granted £3.65 billion in compensation to offset direct loss of income due to global retaliation for tariffs imposed by the Trump administration, Soya farmers will get 50% payment of their crop, with dairy and pork doing well to to compensate them for loss of trade. "After October 1, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has authority to ‘buy back’ US farm produce of £958m. Farm commodities purchased appear in nutritional programmes that support low-income American families."
Two months later...Trump pours £12b to farmers to deal with China canceling £140 m worth of soya, and inceased tariffs on cherries, along with the EU and India putting up tariffs on various food goods. The government will provide direct payments to growers and producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, pork and dairy. The second part includes a “food purchase and distribution - to nutrition assistance - programs.". The third part is directed to find new markets abroad. Like us?
India, China and the EU, have filed a complaint with the WTO against Trump’s tariff policies.
Why soya is the proxy for the trade war US is biggest soya exporter (although may be caught by Brazil this year) and Chinba biggest importer. Soya accounts for 60% meal production - mainly used to feed animals. A further third of soybean's economic value comes from soybean oil. Asian countries, with economic growth, expanding populations and an increasingly meat-heavy diet all lead to higher consumption of soybean products - running at about 5-6& year.
Exporting Foodstuffs to the USThose exporting food stuffs to the US have to provide all manner of documents in order to enter the US. 7 point list by knowledgeable exporter. And then there is the matter of rules of origin on top of that. The rules enable countries making a free trade deal to exclude their own products from a tariff - for it is 'UK origin'. But the rules on what constitutes 'UK origin are unclear - most UK flour is from UK but most has added N. American flour to make it 'harder'. If flour milled with even a small proportion of these grains, and many foodstuffs made from it, were no longer to be considered ‘of UK origin’ and they would therefore be subject to very significant duties.
US Farm ActThe US subsidies its farmers and food to about same amount as the EU - around $50 billion, and is being renegotiated now. The farm bill funds nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (about 80%) and major agricultural programs such as crop subsidies and insurance (14 per%) plus conservation programs (6%percent) and research. Top 1% of farmers by size get over 25% subsidies. “Around 95 percent of the current subsidies are going to crops that are then turned into animal feed, fuel, or processed food,” says Kari Hamerschlag He wants to produce more food crops for eating.
LatestFarm bill was ultimately designed to offer benefits to both very rural and very urban districts, essentially subsidized by suburban districts. This was accomplished by providing subsidies to farmers while also providing subsidized food to poor urban Americans, through either SNAP (food stamps) or subsidized school breakfasts and lunches. But now there are virtually no rural Democratic seats and no urban Republican seats - so it is war. Although much of SNAP programme also goes to rural areas where many poor.
US Foreign Food Policy
Donald Trump reiterated his threat that trade talks with the EU "must open up markets to US farmers or he would impose tariffs on European car imports and anything else that comes in".
Remember Marshall Plan (Chapter 1 in Bittersweet Brexit p15) after WW2, when the US 'gave' a lot of food to Europe? Since then the US foreign policy has been based on 'giving' food for long term repayment to whoever is in need, whereas the rest of the Western world give 'aid' in terms of money. Since then their foreign food aid has served dual function - of gaining control over foreign countries while getting rid of their farm surpluses. The US want to 'dump' their food round world but have been frustrated with EU growing more food to become independent of them, and blocking their food exports for years, because of poor standards. US say those standards not justified Trump has reduced the farm subsidies, which comes as a surprise seeing how many mid-west farmers voted for him. US farm subsidies are different from EU in that they 'insure' farmers against unforeseen losses (weather and markets). The UK Agricultural Minister George Eustice proposes something similar for UK. It may be that Trump moves away from subsidies and encourages exporting excess. This is what happened in the 1970s when their Agricultural minister Earl Butz told corn farmers to 'grow row to row', meaning grow as much as you can. Butz took on to get rid of the excess corn/grain. He sold grain to Russia (Great Grain Robbery), replaced grass to feed cattle (intensive production - CAFOs), and produced of High Fructose Corn Syrup - the worst sweetener of all.
Check out why Butz had to resign - that produced this amazing Cab Calloway spoof. Trumps Food Politics 2017 include indefinite delay of key food safety protections and undermining implementation of their Food Safety Act across food chain - enabling spread of Salmonella more.