US Trade Proposals Show Need For GSM Agri-Food Technology

The USA has outlined its objectives for a post Brexit trade deal, requesting greater access to the UK food markets, in a move which will make food labelling and proof of provenance even more important.

In an 18 page document the US laid o its aims for a trade deal which would cut tariff and non-tariff barriers for US industrial and agricultural goods as well as a cut in regulatory differences.

Currently the UK is bound by EU rules and the prospect of these changing post Brexit have raised concerns in some quarters.

Read More: Meet GSM Agri-Food

The Trump administration is seeking to eliminate or reduce barriers, with its trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer seeking “comprehensive” market access for US agricultural goods in the UK.

It is also looking to remove “unwanted barriers” related to sanitary and phytosanitary standards in the farming industry. Under the fast track trade negotiating authority law, the US will seek to boost trade between the countries by eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers.

The UK Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove has said food standards will remain the same post Brexit, or even tighten.

The differences in production rules include the use of pesticides and hormones. Any changes in food standards will have an impact on exports and imports with the UK, but particularly between Northern Ireland and the Republic where a soft border is required.

Mr Gove has expressed concerns about antibiotics used in livestock and bee-harming pesticides as well as neonicotinoids used on grain for breakfast cereals.

CEO of GSM Andrew Bird said the move “showed the importance of developing technology in the agricultural sectors.”

“Already people want to know about the journey their food has been on, and make consumer choices depending on information regarding origin, livestock standards and pesticides.

“This demand for information will only become more important should food standard rules change post Brexit and will be essential to ensure a thriving economy which trades globally.

“The technology available in our Agri-Tech solutions allow the proof of provenance and one-tap access to information on the origin of food for consumers, as well as the requirements businesses will need to provide to each other and to national customs authorities.

“Along with smart contracts for better, more efficient audit processes, the whole supply chain can be improved and companies with with unique selling points of organic fertilizers or high animal standards, for example, can easily demonstrate these to consumers with the simple access to information.”

The US is also seeking commitments from the UK to establish state of the art rules to ensure cross border data flows and not impose customs duties on digital products.

“These factors can all be incorporated into innovative food labelling, and even involve any customs duties or transactions which can be completed by smart contracts,” added Mr Bird.