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LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) – Britain’s international trade
minister Liz Truss said on Tuesday she plans to lobby the Biden
administration on lamb and Scotch whisky as soon as a new trade
representative has been confirmed.
U.S. President Joe Biden has nominated Katherine Tai as U.S.
trade representative and confirmation hearings are scheduled in
the Senate later this week.
“I shall be making an early call to her, first of all to
seek progress on removing the ban on British lamb into the U.S.
but also removing the tariffs on Scotch whisky,” she said at the
annual conference of the National Farmers Union.
The U.S. banned imports of British lamb and beef in 1989
following outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE),
also known as mad cow disease.
The ban on beef imports was lifted last year.
Tariffs were imposed to Scotch whisky in 2019 by the Trump
administration as part of a trade dispute with the European
Union over subsidies provided to Airbus.
Truss said there was a huge opportunity to expand trade with
the United States but said she was prepared to lower food
standards to pave the way for a deal.
There have been concerns that a trade deal with the United
States might lead to imports of U.S. meat produced under
conditions which are not allowed in Britain or the European
Union such as hormone-treated beef.
“I think there is a beneficial deal to be done but in the
same way we are not going to allow the EU to dictate our
standards we are not going to allow the U.S. to dictate our
standards either,” she said.
Truss said a campaign was also being launched on Tuesday to
help U.K. farmers export more produce to the world’s biggest and
fastest growing markets.
“We know that meat prices are higher in Asia than Europe.
Demand for British food and drink is growing around the rest of
the world. And in 2019 the United States is the world’s second
largest beef importer,” Truss said.
Britain applied in late January to the Comprehensive and
Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)
whose members include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan,
Singapore and Vietnam.
(Reporting by Nigel Hunt; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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