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September 4, 2020, 04.10 PM

The UK voted in a landmark referendum in June 2016 to leave the EU, and finally quit on January 31 this year.

The country is currently in a standstill transition period until the end of the year as it tries to negotiate the terms of its future relationship with Brussels.

Its formal departure from the now 27-member bloc nonetheless allowed London to start trade talks with other countries.

Talks have been complicated by several issues, including US agricultural exports.

But trade secretary Liz Truss also told MPs Thursday that American chlorinated chicken — a totem for opponents fearing weaker food import standards — would remain banned under any deal.

Bilateral trade between the two countries was worth £221 billion ($293 billion, €248 billion) last year, and a free trade deal could increase this by £15.3 billion over 2018 levels in the long run, according to the British government.

At the same time as the Commons met, a political row rumbled on over the UK government's possible appointment of Australia's former Prime Minister Tony Abbott as a trade envoy to help with post-Brexit deals.

Read also: Indonesia's Sumatra Destroys 3.8 Tons of Contaminated, Undocumented Australian Beef

London-born Abbott has been criticized for being a climate change skeptic, and for positions considered misogynist and homophobic.

The main opposition Labour party has called him a "Trump-worshipping misogynist".

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