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U.S. to get a larger share of EU beef market

Progressive Cattle Editor Carrie Veselka Published on 23 August 2019

President Trump, joined by trade representatives and members of the U.S. beef industry, recently signed a trade agreement with the European Union (EU) that will designate a larger duty-free quota of U.S. beef to the European meat market.

The agreement states that the volume of U.S. beef exported to the EU will increase incrementally over a seven-year period. Once implemented, the annual quota will increase from 18,500 metric tons in year one to 35,000 metric tons in year seven. The agreement stipulates that beef eligible to be exported to the EU must come from non-hormone-treated cattle, so producers who participate in the USDA’s non-hormone-treated cattle program stand to benefit the most from this market share increase. The U.S. trade representative’s office estimates this quota will increase annual U.S. beef sales in Europe from $150 million to $420 million in year seven.

National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston, along with several other NCBA representatives, joined President Trump at the signing event. She, along with other industry members, anticipates good things from the trade deal. “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,” she said in a press release. “It is exciting to know European families will enjoy more of the delicious U.S. beef we feed our families.”

Historically, exporting beef to the EU has been a challenge for U.S. beef producers. The debate between the U.S. and the EU over the use of growth hormones in cattle has spanned decades. The EU issued a ban on hormone-treated meat in 1989, which began a back-and-forth trade dispute including retaliatory tariffs and intervention from a World Trade Organization settlement panel. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by both parties in 2009 eased some of the tension by officially outlining a market share of hormone-free U.S. beef for the EU market and removing retaliatory tariffs, although little real change was seen in the export market. While the MOU was a step in the right direction, this trade agreement is a major step in solidifying the beef export market to the EU.  end mark

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