Donald Trump’s nominee for US chief agricultural trade negotiator has pushed for America to ditch trade talks with the EU if it refused to drop its ban on beef reared with antibiotics and growth hormones.
Gregory Doud, who was nominated for the top job last month, made the remarks in a 2013 paper on the beef trade for the University of Nebraska.
US beef producers are already known to be desperate to break into the British market post-Brexit, and President Trump has confirmed he has his sights set on including agriculture in any future UK-US trade deal in an interview with the Wall Street Journal - making Mr Doud’s nomination concerning for British farmers.
On post-Brexit UK deal Trump positive "much much more business" but explicitly suggests US-UK deal will include US agriculture blocked by EU pic.twitter.com/uzWaPhXIUN— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam)
Indeed, asked about agriculture in UK deal Trump tells story re Virginia cattle farmers hugging him for getting beef access to China from Xi pic.twitter.com/XxU4h4X3Dh— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam)
In his paper, Mr Doud identified genetically modified organisms (GMOs), beta-agonists (growth hormones), antibiotics and animal welfare as the key matters holding up a US-EU trade agreement.
“There is no question that these issues have been seemingly intractable for decades”, he said.
“It should be strongly emphasised there is absolutely no guarantee that some or all of these issues will even be brought to the negotiating table unless agriculture interests slam their collective fists on the table… and force it to happen.”
The paper goes on to suggest trading partners should deal with these issues quickly – before activists can ‘get to the politicians’ and before ‘politicians end up saying something stupid’ which stops any talks progressing.
According to Energydesk, another of Mr Trump’s nominees, Ted McKinney, was previously a director at Elanco Animal Health – a major manufacturer of growth hormones.
If the nomination is approved, Mr McKinney would become Under-Secretary of Trade at the US Department of Agriculture.
Earlier this month, UK Trade Secretary Liam Fox sparked controversy when it was revealed he believed chlorinated chicken would have to enter Britain as part of any free trade deal with the US.
The disclosure split the Cabinet, prompting Defra Secretary Michael Gove to reiterate his previous comments about maintaining UK standards post-Brexit.
Dr Fox later accused the media of being ‘obsessed’ with the issue, saying it was ‘a detail of the very end-stage of one sector of a potential free trade agreement.’