Boris Johnson's Porky Pies

Boris Johnson has been telling Porky Pies about Melton Mowbray pork pies. He gave the pies as an example of our poor trade arrangements with the USA. US regulations stopped them being exported to the US, whilst they could be sold in Iceland. It all sounds like tough-talking. It seems reasonable, but for the fact that the pies are only exported to Ireland. It is the standard trick of the populist politician. Make something up and then sound tough on it.

The Melton Mowbray pie is protected by the European Union. A no-deal Brexit would remove that protection, and the pies could readily be copied, or other kinds of pies could be sold as Melton Mowbray.

This is a significant worry for the producers of Melton Mowbray pies who fought a legal battle to ensure its status was protected.

Mr Johnson is in a hurry to make a trade deal with the USA. Both he and President Trump suggest a deal could be put in place within a year. This is odd, given it would usually take up to ten years.

The UK could sign a blank piece of paper and call it a trade deal, but it would leave UK businesses exposed, and the UK consumer unprotected.

Currently, the UK operates through forty trade deals negotiated by the EU. These need to be "rolled" on for the UK to trade with the same terms after Brexit. That is not an easy task. So far, the UK has managed thirteen "continuity" deals covering 38 countries.

Striking a deal with the USA, UK's top trading partner would be vital. Trump won't be a push-over. He has his own agenda, which is to put "America first." He won't be looking to do "favours" for the British government, no matter what his rhetoric is.

Trump wants markets opened up to US goods, and he wants to protect US businesses. He won't look favourably on the current balance of trade with the UK. The UK exports £112 bn of goods to the US, but imports £70 bn. The UK's biggest trading partner in terms of imports is Germany, much of which is vital for the UK supply chain.

So, is it wishful thinking that a trade deal could be negotiated with the USA within a year? Not necessarily, but the terms of that deal would unlikely be favourable to the UK.


We know what the US objectives are. They have been published. It is a lengthy document with some red flags. For example, it seeks to


"Establish rules that reduce or eliminate barriers to US investment in all sectors in the UK."

This would include the health and social care sectors and is a threat to the NHS, with more outsourcing and privatisation.

Another threat to the NHS would be in the following intent to

"Seek standards to ensure that government regulatory reimbursement regimes are transparent, provide procedural fairness, are nondiscriminatory, and provide full market access for US products." 

Significant dangers lie ahead in a rushed deal with the USA.


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