U.K. free-trade agreement objectives published
The United Kingdom has published its negotiating policy for a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the United States.
In language that may upset U.S. negotiators and farm groups, the policy also says that the United Kingdom will “build on existing international obligations,” including “not compromising high environmental, animal welfare and food standards,” and will recognize “geographical origins.”
Saying that “business across the economy and the country will benefit from an FTA,” the document lists “Food and farming” and states “With growing demand for U.K. food and drink products in the U.S., there are opportunities such as lowering high tariffs on U.K. products like cheddar cheese where tariffs can be as high as 17.6%. Our high-quality meat also represents an opportunity, in particular removing barriers and increasing access to the U.S. market.”
In a section highlighting the economic boosts of an agreement, the report says Scotland is expected to be one of the parts of the U.K. to benefit most. “An FTA could bolster existing trade in Scottish salmon and Scotch whisky, while lowering tariffs on cashmere and clothing, and high quality meat.”
The report also anticipates increased access to the U.S. market for U.K. lamb, dairy, beef and beverage producers with reduced U.S. tariffs and the “easing” of U.S. customs procedures.
Among the policy’s stated objectives:
▪ “Throughout the agreement, ensure high standards and protections for U.K. consumers and workers and build on our existing international obligations. This will include not compromising on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.”
▪ “Secure comprehensive access for U.K. industrial and agricultural goods into the U.S. market through the reduction or elimination of tariffs.”
▪ “Maintain effective protection of food and drink names in a way that reflects their geographical origins, getting the balance right for consumers to ensure they are not confused or misled about the origins of goods, and have access to a competitive range of products.”
Two objectives are listed under sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards (SPS):
▪ “Uphold the U.K.’s high levels of public, animal, and plant health, including food safety.“
▪ “Enhance access for U.K. agri-food goods to the U.S. market by seeking commitments to improve the timeliness and transparency of U.S. approval processes for U.K. goods.”