Doing any kind of trade deal with the UK which excluded agricultural products would be seen as a ‘betrayal’ by American farmers, a US farm leader has said.
Zippy Duvall, head of the American Farm Bureau, made the comments after US National Security Advisor John Bolton suggested the UK would be offered quick sector-by-sector deals with a comprehensive agreement to follow in a no-deal Brexit scenario.
According to Pew Research analysis, President Trump relied heavily on the rural vote to win the election in 2016, earning 62 per cent of the vote compared to Hillary Clinton’s 34 per cent.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Duvall said: “To have a trade treaty and not discuss agriculture would be turning your back on rural America and that is where a big part of our population lives.”
Mr Duvall also hinted that the UK would have to accept American practices such as washing chicken in chlorine or using GM crops if any trade deal were to be done, claiming they were ‘science-based’.
This call has been met with resistance in the UK, with union Unite suggesting such a move would threaten the jobs of 450,000 workers in food processing.
Unite’s national officer for food, drink and agriculture, Bev Clarkson, said: “Unite is demanding answers from the Government and we want a clear statement from Defra Secretary Theresa Villiers that she will not sell out our food workers in any deal with Trump.
“The threat of tariff-free access for 90 per cent of imports could drive down prices in the supermarkets, which in turn, could lead to food processing plants in the UK shedding thousands of jobs.
“This is because it costs more to maintain food health standards in the UK and processing food firms will not be able to compete with cheaper US food with its light touch regulatory framework.
“Cheaper prices in the supermarkets may appear attractive in the short-term, but there will be a longer-term detrimental cost.”