President Trump’s visit to the UK came amidst comments made by the US Ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson. According to Johnson, “the entire economy (…) all things that are traded would be on the table” in future UK-US trade negotiation talks.
He suggested amongst other areas that a future trade deal would have to cover agricultural products, including chlorinated chicken. According to Johnson, British consumers should have the last say, by choosing to buy or not buy US products once they are put on the UK market. This is no new approach, as the US follows the same process in regard to the transatlantic trade deal with the EU. The US Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sandland, mentioned during the European Business Summit last May that any trade deal with the EU would have to include provisions on agriculture. Public consultations held by the US government have already demonstrated this further, as US companies asked for the “mutual recognition of equivalence in safety measures” (Brexit Watch n°10).
Another point of controversy relates to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Ambassador Johnson stated this should also be on the negotiation table. This confirms the fears expressed some time ago by Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, who claimed that private healthcare corporations in the US could “get their hands on NHS contracts”. Amidst growing concerns, the incumbent Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, nevertheless made clear that the NHS would not be for sale in any future trade deal talks.
The Guardian article on US-UK trade deal demands
Brexit Watch n°10
Jonathan Ashworth’s interview on NHS