An unprecedented drive to lobby ministers to ditch strict EU safety standards in order to secure a US trade deal is being drawn up by a transatlantic group of conservative thinktanks – it has emerged.
Organisers of the self-styled ‘shadow trade talks’ which are set to include 10 leading rightwing and libertarian groups from the UK and the US – are preparing to push their ‘ideal free trade agreement’ that would allow the import of US meats – drugs and chemicals banned in Britain.
The conservative groups involved include the Heritage Foundation – which has pushed for the lifting of environmental protections and the Cato Institute co-founded by billionaire oil barons Charles and David Koch.
In Britain the project is being overseen by the Initiative for Free Trade (IFT) – an organisation founded by the hard-Brexit advocate and Tory MEP Daniel Hannan.
According to a document outlining the project – mistakenly published online by the IFT – the groups will “hash out an ‘ideal’ US-UK free trade agreement (FTA)” that includes Britain recognising US standards which are widely seen as weaker than those adopted by the EU.
Such a move would allow imports of chlorinated chicken and hormone-reared beef to be sold in the UK for the first time.