US farm boss to visit Europe in bid to ‘lift import barriers’

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

US farm boss Sonny Perdue is visiting Europe in a bid to ‘lift trade barriers to US exports’
US farm boss Sonny Perdue is visiting Europe in a bid to ‘lift trade barriers to US exports’

Related tags: International trade

US secretary of agriculture Sonny Perdue is to visit London this week, as part of his first official visit to Europe, in a bid to ‘lift trade barriers to US exports’.

Speaking ahead of his visit, Perdue highlighted the significance of trade in food products between the US and Europe but said trade barriers restricting US exports needed to be overcome.  

“The EU consistently ranks among the US’s top agricultural export markets, and it is the world’s largest importer of food and farm products,”​ said Perdue.

“We value our close relationship with our European partners, but there is work to be done to address the numerous trade barriers US exporters face in that market.”

‘Trade barriers US exporters face’

His visit, which begins in the capital tomorrow (Thursday October 12), is planned to include a meeting with environment secretary Michael Gove and members of the House of Commons’ Committee on Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs.

Perdue will also take part in the G-7 agriculture ministers meeting in Bergamo, Italy and deliver an address in Rome to mark World Food Day.

Meanwhile, in July, shadow secretary of state for international trade Barry Gardiner warned UK food and drink manufacturers to beware the threats of “shotgun trade deals”​ with the US and other trading partners.

‘Shotgun deals’

Speaking at a seminar organised by the Food and Drink Federation, Gardiner said: “Shotgun deals – deals that are done quickly for political gain and political purposes​ – should not be allowed to trump our national interest.

“And the pun​ [on President Trump’s name] is wholly intended.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation had already confirmed it would seek the same food hygiene changes in any trade deal with the UK that had been pursued with the EU during the ill-fated Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks, he said.

“Namely, an end to the restrictions on chlorine-dipped chickens, hormone-grown beef and genetically modified crops.”

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