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Senators Coons, Wicker urge poultry trade with UK as Brexit takes effect

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roger Wicker
(R-Miss.), co-chairs of the Senate
Chicken Caucus
, today sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert E.
Lighthizer, highlighting the opportunity to export U.S. poultry to the United
Kingdom, which formally leaves the European Union at 11 p.m. today. U.S. Sen.
Tom Carper (D-Del.) also joined the letter.

“As bipartisan senators of
states with significant poultry interests, we urge you to strongly advocate for
United States poultry access to the UK when negotiating a new trade deal,” the letter
states. “Capitalizing on this opportunity to open a new and substantial market
for United States poultry exports would greatly benefit domestic businesses
while maintaining food safety standards supported by sound science.”

As a member of the EU, the United
Kingdom was subject to a ban that severely restricted access to American
poultry. Now, with the U.K. setting its terms of trade, the U.S. has the
opportunity to level the playing field.

Along with Coons, Wicker, and
Carper, senators who signed the bipartisan letter include Thom Tillis (R-N.C.),
Mark Warner (D-Va.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Kelly
Loeffler (R-Ga.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), David Perdue (R-Ga.),
and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.).

The full text of the letter
is below.

The Honorable Robert E.
Lighthizer
Ambassador
Office of the United States
Trade Representative
600 17th Street, Northwest
Washington, DC 20006

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

Thank you for your ongoing
efforts to support our domestic poultry industries.
  We are greatly appreciative of your role in
facilitating China’s recent decision to lift a five-year ban on poultry
products from the United States, which, according to the USA Poultry & Egg
Export Council, opened an up to $2 billion market for our poultry
producers.
  As the United Kingdom (UK)
prepares to exit the European Union (EU) and negotiate a new trade agreement
with the United States, we urge you to advocate for United States poultry
access to the UK as well.

Since 1997, the EU has banned
the import of poultry meat treated with antimicrobial rinses.  This ban has prevented all United States
chicken meat from reaching European markets, including the UK.  Although the United States Department of
Agriculture and the European Food Safety Commission have both concluded that
chicken meat treated with these rinses is safe for human consumption, some in
the UK government have unfortunately made public statements regarding their
intention to retain the EU ban following the UK’s exit from the EU. 

As bipartisan senators of
states with significant poultry interests, we urge you to strongly advocate for
United States poultry access to the UK when negotiating a new trade deal.  Capitalizing on this opportunity to open a
new and substantial market for United States poultry exports would greatly
benefit domestic businesses while maintaining food safety standards supported
by sound science. 

Thank you for your attention
to this request.
  We appreciate your
support and look forward to continue working with you.
 

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