Chlorinated chicken on the menu in Brexit trade deal, Mike Pompeo tells LBC

30 January 2020, 16:01 | Updated: 30 January 2020, 17:16

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has suggested that chlorinated chicken will be part of post-Brexit trade talks in his only UK broadcast interview on LBC.

Mr Pompeo spoke to Iain Dale on the day before Britain leaves the European Union and revealed he is in the UK to "fire the starting gun" on trade talks with the UK.

He was confident most of the details can be agreed by the autumn, but did admit that dealing with agricultural issues will be contentious.

He said: "It will be complicated and there will be places that will be very contentious. Both negotiating teams will want to preserve things for their own country. That is how negotiations work. That shouldn't trouble any of us when their heart stops when there are difficult points along the way.

"We're committed to working on this as quickly as we can. I don't want to put a timeline on it. It will take a little bit, but I hope that by the end of this year or the late summer/early fall, we have a substantial deal of progress and we can begin to close out the most difficult issues.

"Our team is committed to it. I know the United Kingdom team is getting ready to go. That's why I wanted to be here today to be the starting gun, not only for the trade negotiations but on all of the other files that our two countries work on together."

Mike Pompeo was speaking to LBC in his only UK broadcast interview
Mike Pompeo was speaking to LBC in his only UK broadcast interview. Picture: PA / LBC

Iain asked him about whether chlorinated chicken would be part of the deal demanded by the US and the Secretary of State was very clear on the US position.

He told LBC: "There will be real contentious issues around agriculture.

"Each of the trade deals that we've completed - we've just signed the US MCA for the three countries in North America and a phase one trade deal with the Chinese - these ag issues are deeply political.

"We have constituents in places that matter an awful lot, we have people we want to protect and markets that have come to be developed in a protectionist sense.

"I'm sure the Ag issues will be difficult. Our ask will be as it has been in the other negotiations. We need to be open and honest about competitiveness. We need to make sure we don't use food safety as a ruse to try and protect a particular industry. And then we need to have hard conversations about the places we have opportunities to give and take and then deliver on outcomes that benefit the agricultural sector - and most importantly consumers who are going to be the net beneficiaries of these really good deals."

Hear Mike Pompeo's full interview with Iain Dale at 7pm on LBC.