Boris Johnson is eager to sign an important agreement with Washington to help Britain recover from the collapse of COVID-19. However, some Tory MPs fear that this could cause British farmers to be cut with products such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed meat.
The United States wishes to increase its access to the lucrative United Kingdom food market under any trade agreement.
Last week, the secretary of international trade Liz Truss announced the creation of a new “trade and agriculture” commission to examine the topic.
However, a group of conservative backbenchers reportedly don’t think this goes far enough.
According to Sunday’s letter, they ask that the commission be given state status, which means that the government would be forced to respond to its recommendations.
The commission aims to ensure that British farmers “do not face unfair competition and that their high animal welfare and production standards are not compromised”.
In 2018 agriculture represented around 0.6 percent of the British economy.
Speaking to Sunday’s mail about the commission, Tory MP commented: “It cannot be just a panel that provides advice and therefore is ignored.
“The Prime Minister was quite receptive to what we were saying.”
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The government is also under pressure from agricultural and environmental groups to prevent loosening of regulations.
RSPB CEO Beccy Speight requested “clear legal guarantees that imports comply with our environmental standards”.
He added: “Nothing less than this and we will sell our farmers and our wildlife at a time when many of our iconic country birds such as lapwings and skylights are starting to disappear from our countryside.
“Exposing British agriculture to competition from American-style mega farms and harmful pesticides would have a devastating impact on any hopes for nature’s recovery.”
Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers Union, also called on the government to ensure that the new commission has real power.
In January, Woody Johnson, the United States’ ambassador to the United Kingdom, suggested including chlorine washed chicken in any trade deal.
He commented: “These products should definitely be included in a free trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom that will create new markets for farmers in both countries and offer more choices to British and American consumers.
“In fact, your Food Standards Agency has already approved antimicrobial washes to stop food poisoning in pre-washed salads sold across the UK.
“Maybe he should recommend including chicken in this treatment.
Millions of Britons visit America every year and I bet I eat most of the chicken while there. Ask them and I’m sure they’ll tell you that American agricultural products are safe, nutritious and delicious. “