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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