UK trade del­e­ga­tion to US ‘had al­most no ex­pe­ri­ence’

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS -

Liam Fox’s del­e­ga­tion to the United States for trade talks which sparked a row over chlo­rine-washed chick­ens had nearly no ex­pe­ri­ence of ne­go­ti­at­ing trade deals, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion claims.

Dr Fox’s team of 27 mainly se­nior White­hall of­fi­cials held dis­cus­sions with a 77-strong US team, 20 of whom have helped ne­go­ti­ate and en­force trade deals around the world, a list of at­ten­dees seen by Green­peace in­di­cated.

Anal­y­sis of the list by the NGO’s in­ves­tiga­tive arm Un­earthed, which ob­tained the doc­u­ment through US free­dom of in­for­ma­tion laws, sug­gested Bri­tain’s team did not con­tain a sin­gle of­fi­cial with di­rect ex­pe­ri­ence of ne­go­ti­at­ing trade deals.

This left Bri­tain look­ing “as pre­pared as some­one turn­ing up for the Wim­ble­don fi­nal with a ping-pong bat” for ex­ploratory talks on a po­ten­tial trade deal with the US, which is seen by some as cru­cial to ex­ploit­ing the ben­e­fits of Brexit, Green­peace said.

A Depart­ment for In­ter­na­tional Trade spokesper­son said: “We have the right lev­els of ca­pa­bil­ity within the depart­ment and the US trade work­ing group was per­son­ally launched by the Trade Sec­re­tary Liam Fox and US trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive Se­na­tor Robert Lighthizer.”

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