America must lift restrictions on British pork pies, cauliflowers and shower trays, Boris Johnson tells Donald Trump as they discuss post-Brexit trade deal
- The PM told reporters heading to the G7 summit that negotiating was ‘not all going to be plain sailing’
- He raised his concerns with the President during a phone call on Friday evening
- Mr Johnson’s combative approach to the President signals that a newly-confident post-Brexit Britain will not be ‘rolled over’
Published: 18:07 EDT, 24 August 2019 | Updated: 02:24 EDT, 25 August 2019
Boris Johnson last night fired a diplomatic salvo at Donald Trump, warning that a ‘fantastic’ post-Brexit trade deal with Washington could not be sealed unless the President lifted restrictions on British pork pies, cauliflowers and shower trays.
Speaking ahead of a breakfast meeting today between the two men – their first encounter since Mr Johnson entered Downing Street – the Prime Minister told reporters on the flight to the G7 summit in Biarritz that negotiating the crucial deal was ‘not all going to be plain sailing’.
Mr Johnson, who raised his concerns with the President during a phone call on Friday evening, went on to cite numerous, bizarre examples of US restrictions on UK exporters.
‘Melton Mowbray pork pies, which are sold in Thailand and in Iceland, are currently unable to enter the US market because of…some sort of food and drug administration restriction,’ said Mr Johnson.
‘Cauliflowers currently, under US Department of Agriculture restrictions, can only enter specified ports.
Boris Johnson (pictured with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday in Biarritz) tells Donald Trump that America must lift restrictions on a number of UK exporters as they discuss a post-Brexit trade deal
‘We’ve sold 250,000 shower trays around the world [but] there is some kind of bureaucratic obstacle that stops us selling them in the US because they are allegedly too low.’
The Prime Minister added: ‘There remain very considerable barriers in the US to British businesses… It is very important if we are going to do a fantastic free trade deal that is a free trade that works in the interests of British business.’
Mr Johnson’s combative approach to the President is designed to signal that a newly-confident post-Brexit Britain will not be ‘rolled over’ by Washington in talks about a trade deal: the Government has been particularly keen to make clear that the NHS will be protected during the negotiations.
The Prime Minister went on to cite bizarre examples including pork pies, cauliflowers and shower trays
He said: ‘It goes without saying that there are sectors of the UK economy, not least the NHS, which remain completely off limits as far as any trade deal with America goes.
‘We will not allow the NHS to be on the table at all. There are massive opportunities for UK companies to open up, to prise open the American market.
‘We intend to seize those opportunities but they are going to require our American friends to compromise and to open up their approach because currently there are too many restrictions.’
Asked whether he was ‘Britain’s Trump’, Mr Johnson swerved the question by saying: ‘I was born in the United States.
‘I think the most important thing for any Prime Minister of the UK is to have a very close, friendly relationship with our most important ally.’
President Trump is also engaged in a war of words with President Emmanuel Macron over France’s digital services tax aimed at American tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft.
The US President has threatened to retaliate by slapping tariffs on imported French wines.
Mr Johnson held a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday afternoon, during which Mr Johnson promised that the leaders would be ‘working flat out’ because the summit was not a ‘wonderful boondoggle here in some posh hotel in Biarritz’.
Mr Johnson also said that he was ‘horrified’ by the fires in the Amazon basin.
He said: ‘The UK stands ready to help in any way that we can to extinguish the fires and to protect habitat and biodiversity.’
After posing for the traditional G7 ‘family photo’ last night, Mr Johnson joined the other leaders at a dinner hosted by President Macron.
The summit opened with a Brexit war of words between Mr Johnson and European Council President Donald Tusk who provocatively warned the Prime Minister not to go down in history as ‘Mr No Deal’.
Mr Johnson hit back, telling reporters that it was Mr Tusk who risked being given that title. Mr Johnson said: ‘As I’ve made it absolutely clear, I don’t want a No Deal Brexit but I say to our friends in the EU: if they don’t want a No Deal Brexit then we’ve got to get rid of the backstop from the treaty.’
PM dodges the Carrie question
Boris Johnson was asked yesterday whether his girlfriend Carrie Symonds – who is not in Biarritz – would join him on future international summits.
The PM deftly dodged the question by instead expressing his admiration for Melania Trump who is accompanying husband Donald at the G7.
Referring to the First Lady’s work with children’s education in Africa, Mr Johnson told reporters: ‘I am right behind Melania.’
Ms Symonds was due to fly to the US as part of her job with an environmental group.
However, it emerged she had been refused a US travel visa because of a previous visit to East Africa.