UK trade delegation to US ‘had almost no experience’
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.”