Is the UK preparing to break with the EU at WTO meeting?

The City A.M. website has reported that Downing Street is considering taking an independent stance on food safety at a forthcoming WTO meeting, raising concerns that the way is being paved for a US-UK trade deal that would allow the importation of food produced to standards not currently legal in the UK.

The meeting on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures is expected to see the UK making a statement about future intentions in relation to issues such as beef hormones, gene editing, GM foods and the use of acid to wash poultry.

Aside from concerns about allowing imports of food produced to environmental, animal welfare and other production standards which fall short of those legally required of UK farmers, the reports have also raised concerns that such a statement could breach commitments made within the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Last November, leaked US-UK trade negotiation documents revealed the degree to which the US wants UK standards to be relaxed to allow imports of food currently illegal in the UK and EU.