U.S. and EU Announce Beef Trade Deal

Eu Trade Deal 080519
The U.S. signed a trade deal with the EU on Friday. ( FJ )

The United States will nearly triple its annual duty-free beef exports to the European Union (EU) over the next seven years under a new trade agreement signed at the White House.

American ranchers will be guaranteed a bigger share of Europe’s beef market, with annual duty-free exports expected to grow from $150 million to $420 million when the agreement is fully implemented.

“American ranchers produce the best beef in the world. Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, this new agreement ensures that American ranchers can sell more of that beef to Europe,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who signed the agreement with the Honorable Jani Raappana of Finland, representing the Presidency of the EU, and Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis of the Delegation of the EU. 

Jennifer Houston, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), was at the signing ceremony and applauded the agreement.

“Today is a good day for America’s cattlemen and cattlewomen. President Trump and his trade team deserve a lot of credit for standing up for America’s cattle industry and securing this important market access to Europe,” Houston said. “For many years it has been difficult for us to sell our high-quality U.S. beef to European consumers because of the restrictive tariff and non-tariff barriers, but the establishment of this 35,000 metric ton duty-free quota sends the signal to America’s cattle industry that Europe is ready for U.S. beef. All across America, our beef producers go to great lengths to raise safe and delicious beef products that are enjoyed by consumers around the world. It is exciting to know that European families will enjoy more of the delicious U.S. beef that we feed our families."

The new agreement establishes a duty-free tariff rate quota (TRQ) exclusively for the United States. Under the agreement, American ranchers will have an initial TRQ of 18,500 metric tons annually, valued at approximately $220 million.  Over seven years, the TRQ will grow to 35,000 metric tons annually, valued at approximately $420 million.

Under the current agreement, U.S. duty-free beef exports to the EU are only approximately 13,000 metric tons annually, valued at approximately $150 million, and risked declines going forward.

In 2016, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, U.S. Meat Export Federation, and the North American Meat Institute requested the U.S. Trade Representative to take tariff action under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to enforce the World Trade Organization dispute finding in favor of the United States against the EU’s ban on the use of hormones in cattle production. USTR held a public hearing on February 15, 2017.  

Negotiations resulted in a new agreement, which was approved by the European Council on July 15, 2019. It will go into effect following the European Parliament’s approval, which is expected this fall. With the EU providing a country specific duty-free quota for U.S. beef, the United States has agreed as a part of the agreement signed today to conclude the proceedings under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 initiated in December 2016.

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