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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Nick Clegg and chlorine-soaked chickens

Brexiteers who are clinging to Trump's promise of a quick trade deal with the UK as justification for the mess they have got us into, may live to regret their early enthusiasm. These things are not as straightforward as they seem. We have the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as evidence that these deals come at a cost

As Nick Clegg points out in this article, the free-for-all nature of the US economy could lead to a different standard applying to the goods we import into this country from Trump's America:

Mr Clegg accused Brexit supporters of believing in a “fantasy world” of trade deals with far-flung countries, which could never replace the EU’s single market.

And he recounted a conversation with Joe Biden, the outgoing US Vice-President, to underline what the US will demand as the price of an agreement with Britain.

The former Liberal Democrat leader said: “He said to me very unsentimentally – in that folksy way he does – ‘We are not going to sign anything that the chicken farmers of Delaware don’t like!’.

“Now, the chicken farmers of Delaware wash their chicken flesh with some sort of chlorine.

“It’s bleached – bloody horrible stuff – which is not allowed in the EU, the EU has decided, through various laws.

“You tell me, but I suspect the good shoppers of Waitrose and Sainsbury’s and others might be a little bit shocked if, suddenly, they are having to eat this slightly white, chlorine-washed American chicken flesh.”

Mr Clegg added, sarcastically: “And that’s the great triumph of the new US-UK trade agreement.”

At present the EU uses a so-called “farm-to-fork” approach, requiring steps all along the production chain to ensure the food ultimately sold is safe. The Independent speculates that any deal to allow US meat to be sold in Britain after inferior safety measures would be likely to provoke uproar from farmers and consumers.

Any deal with the USA could be as controversial as TTIP with equal threats to the integrity of the NHS, food and environmental safety, banking regulations, privacy and the undermining of democracy by enabling big corporations to dictate policy to government. 

As ever the devil is in the detail. Those who are embracing Trump's offer should think again.
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