Whitehall insiders expect the document to set out “red lines” making clear selling of the NHS to American private healthcare firms will not be on the table in the negotiations. Mr Johnson is expected to discuss the push for a UK-US trade deal with senior ministers including Dominic Raab and Michael Gove at a meeting of his “XS” Cabinet Committee today.
His aides hope the signs of accelerating preparations for talks with the US will remind EU chiefs that the UK is open to widening trade opportunities around the world.
Government officials yesterday sought to quell concerns that a UK-US trade deal will lower barriers to controversial American exports such as chemically-treated chicken.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “The UK has long been a world leader in food safety and animal welfare.
“We have repeatedly been clear we will continue to uphold these high standards in all future trade deals, ensuring they live up to the values of farmers and consumers across the UK.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice faced criticism on Sunday after repeatedly refusing to rule out chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef being imported from the US under a future deal
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss warned that the UK will drive a hard bargain in trade talks with the US earlier this month.
In a Written Ministerial Statement to MPs, the Cabinet Minister said the Government wanted far-reaching reductions on tariffs applied to UK exports to the US and other trading partners under the deal.
“We aim to secure free trade agreements with countries covering 80 per cent of UK trade within the next three years.
“We will drive a hard bargain and, as with all negotiations, we will be prepared to walk away if that is in the national interest.
“Independence will allow the UK to become a truly Global Britain, championing free trade and showing the UK is a force for good,” she said in the statement.
EU diplomats last night finalised the negotiating mandate for Mr Barnier, which is expected to be approved by a meeting of the bloc’s General Affairs Council in Brussels today. [Tuesday]
They toughened up language from early drafts to make even clearer their demands for the UK to remain subject to Brussels regulations and red tape forever.
A final draft of the document said EU standards must be a “reference point” for the UK to accept.
It said: “The envisaged agreement should uphold the common high standards, and corresponding high standards over time with union standards as a reference point, in the areas of State aid, competition, state-owned enterprises, social and employment standards, environmental standards, climate change, and relevant tax matters and other regulatory measures and practices.”
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