Leaked documents reveal Trump trade deal threat to farmers in Devon

November 29, 2019 9:22 AM
Originally published by Torridge and West Devon Liberal Democrats

Leaked documents from US-UK trade deal talks have revealed the threat facing farmers in Devon from a trade deal with Donald Trump, the Liberal Democrats have warned.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Torridge and West Devon, David Chalmers has written to Conservative candidate Geoffrey Cox, calling on them to make a "cast-iron" guarantee to vote against any lowering of UK food standards that could put local farmers at risk.

It comes after documents published online yesterday revealed years of talks between UK and US trade negotiators, with American officials pushing to allow greater use of chemicals in food production, including chlorine-washing chicken. The US team even offered 'public lines' on chlorine-washed chicken to help UK officials try to sell the controversial practice to British consumers and help 'inform the media narrative'.

The US negotiators also said that maintaining the UK's current high standards for food production was 'the worst-case scenario', adding that in a no deal Brexit there would be 'all to play for.'

Liberal Democrat candidate David Chalmers said:

"These documents show that a Donald Trump post-Brexit trade deal poses a grave threat to farmers across Devon. The US has far lower animal welfare and food standards, especially on the use of chemicals and growth hormones. The Conservative party's desperation for a US trade deal would open the door to these lower food standards being forced onto the UK.

"Farming communities here in Devon are rightly concerned about being undercut by low-standard imports from the US and losing access to vital European markets.

"Conservative candidate Geoffrey Cox must make a cast-iron guarantee they will vote against any attempts to lower our world-leading food standards as part of a trade deal with Trump.

"The Liberal Democrats will stand up for local farmers and stop Boris Johnson ramming through a damaging Trump trade deal. Every vote here will make a difference in stopping Johnson getting a majority and making sure he is held to account."