York beef farmer Mike Powley hosts a visit from International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to discuss his work in helping to lift the decades long US British beef ban

Yorkshire beef farmer, Mike Powley hosted a visit from International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss to discuss his work in helping lift the 24 year US ban on British beef

Mike Powley has been working to help lift the ban on British beef in the US

During the visit to Oak House Farm in Green Hammerton, Ms Truss made a pledge that the UK will not enter into a free trade agreement with the United States that would undercut British farmers.

Welcoming the re-opening of the US market to UK farmers, following the 1996 ban being lifted, Ms Truss said a free trade agreement with the US and countries such as Japan, Australia and New Zealand will “open up” markets local farmers would not have been able to access before, adding that such agreements would allow overseas buyers to access UK produce removing or reducing the tariffs which currently exist.

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She said trade agreement talks between the UK and the US were reaching the phase of negotiation where they were starting to talk about the tariffs.

Liz Truss visited the farm to talk about free trade agreements which the UK is in the process of negotiating with the US

“Obviously, we have got to get through that, it is a really important part of the negotiations but we are going to make as much progress as we can before the US election,” she said.

“But I am not going to prioritise speed over getting the right deal for Britain. We are very committed to protecting our high standards in this country, making sure that any deal we get is right for British farmers and is right for manufacturers.

“So, yes, we want a deal but we don’t want a deal at any price. We are moving as fast as we can but we want to get a deal that is right for Britain and right for Yorkshire.”

Government analysis estimates Yorkshire could benefit significantly from a free trade agreement being struck with the US, indicating an “ambitious” agreement could boost the local economy by as much as £287m. 

“The free trade agreements we are currently negotiating, including with the US, will provide local farmers with better access to some of the biggest consumer markets in the world,” Ms Truss said.

She said it was a “particularly exciting time” for beef farmers, with the US market now open to them for the first time since the ban in 1996 and congratulated those involved in getting it lifted. Mr Powley has been at the centre of the campaign to reinstate British beef in the US and said it was a “fantastic time” to be joining the US market.

“It’s fantastic news that the market has opened up, because we don’t use growth enhancers of any sort and the Americans are just getting a taste for grass-fed beef and understanding that it tastes different.

“The grass-fed beef market has risen by 15 per cent in the last six months, so it’s a fantastic time to be joining.”

He went on to say that the Yorkshire landscape made it a prime area for beef production.

“Yorkshire has a lot of hilly areas where ground can’t be cultivated for crops.

“We have a lot of farmers producing cattle, so it’s really important for Yorkshire to have that market ready for our beef.”

Ms Truss said another key priority would be opening up the US market to British lamb which is currently banned.

Following concerns about the lack of safeguards in place to protect UK food standards in future trade deals, the Government recently announced the formation of an independent Food and Trade Commission which includes agricultural representatives.

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Thank you

James Mitchinson