Trade talks with the United Kingdom continue as they are now in round five of negotiations. USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney says he believes the UK truly wants to make a deal.
“I would urge that you not read the UK media. I don’t think it quite represents where the negotiators are. I’ll tell you that, across the board, our friends at U.S.T.R. (United States Trade Representative) and my team that sit in on all those negotiations were more optimistic than not.”
McKinney says a sticking point in negotiations is perceived differences in animal welfare practices.
“I will tell you that I believe our standards are very little different than those in the U.K. or even in Europe, but I do believe there is a big myth that ours are different. Ours, in their view, in some cases are believed to be substandard. We are trying to get Secretary Eustice, this would be Secretary Perdue’s counterpart, we were ready to bring him over in March and then COVID hit, so we could take him to any barn he chose to show that our standards are no different and are very high as well.”
While McKinney is optimistic about talks with the UK, he’s far less optimistic about talks with the European Union going anywhere anytime soon.
“So we’ve got a massive education effort going on with the E.U. and I’m more optimistic than not we can get there, but it’s not going to be days, it’s not going to weeks, it’s not even going to be months. It’s going to be year or years to round that corner.”