The American dream: a potential British nightmare
AS British farmers face the biggest shake-up in food and farming since the Second World War, new concerns are emerging over the potentially damaging effects of a post-brexit bilateral trade deal with the USA. Although some British farmers see Brexit as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ to change food and farming policy, others are anxious that cheap imports from countries such as America may jeopardise British production.
President Trump has vowed to sign a ‘very powerful’ trade deal with the UK and David Trowbridge, President of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, adds: ‘We have the resources to produce a very desirable product and Britain is a great possibility where we can go with our product and increase our profitability.’
At present, Britain imports 0.1% of its beef from the USA, with 76% of beef home-grown. Less stringent animal-welfare and environmental standards and methods such as injecting growth hormones and relying on corn-feeding enable American meat producers to lower their selling prices. Despite most British consumers confirming their allegiance to British-grown produce, Guy Smith, vice-president of the NFU, is sceptical, worrying that price sometimes sways consumers more than any other factor. MB