US - Last week, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced it will start the process of reinstating retaliatory tariffs on goods and products from the European Union due to the EU's unfair treatment of US beef.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Tracy Brunner applauds USTR Ambassador Michael Froman for standing up for the US beef industry and taking action in defense of US beef producers.
"The European Union has left us no choice but to seek compensation for the long-standing mistreatment of US beef exports," said Mr Brunner. "Our temporary agreement with the EU was meant to be an opportunity to build a bridge of trust between US beef producers and EU consumers, and to compensate the United States for the losses we have suffered as a result of the EU's hormone ban. The EU has violated the spirit of that agreement and caused US beef exports to become a minority interest in a quota meant to compensate US beef producers."
In 2009 the US and the EU signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which the EU agreed to create a new duty-free quota for imports of specially-produced beef to compensate the United States for losses arising from the EU's ban on the use of hormones in beef production. Imports under the quota have grown steadily since then, and for the past two years, the entire 45,000 metric ton quota has been filled, though from countries other than the US.
Over the past two years the US government has attempted, without success, to engage the European Commission in discussions about ways to rectify this situation.
"While this is not our preferred choice, retaliation is the only way cattle producers are going to secure our rights for the losses we have incurred over the years due to the EU's hormone ban," said Mr Brunner. "If the EU is unwilling to honor the terms of the agreement then we have no alternative but to seek restitution. We will not continue to be subjected to such trade agreement abuse."
While initially imports from the United States accounted for the majority of the business done under the quota, over time imports from Australia, Uruguay and Argentina increased rapidly, taking a greater share of the quota.
Neither Australia, Uruguay, nor Argentina was a party to the hormone dispute or the 2009 MOU that created the quota intended for the United States. The United States now has a minority and declining share of the quota, and imports so far this year point to a continuation of this trend.
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TheCattleSite News Desk
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