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EU Market Will Retain Access to High-Quality American Beef
August 5, 2013

A herdsman checks on a cow and her calves in California in November at an American beef operation certified for stringent labeling as both animal-welfare approved and American grass-fed.

August 2, 2013

U.S. beef producers will continue to provide European consumers with high-quality beef produced from non-hormone-treated cattle, the United States announced August 1.

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced in a press release that the European Union (EU) will continue to allow U.S. beef producers significant access, at zero duty, to the EU market.

The United States and the European Union are planning to extend for two years Phase 2 of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in 2009 in connection with the United States’ long-running dispute with the European Union over the EU ban on beef from cattle treated with certain growth-promoting hormones.

In the year since Phase 2 began, U.S. beef shipments under the quota were an estimated $200 million, up 300 percent from the value of exports in the year before the MOU entered into force. Under the extension, the EU would maintain until August 2, 2015, its duty-free tariff rate quota for high-quality beef, established pursuant to the U.S.–European Commission agreement regarding the importation of beef from animals not treated with certain growth-promoting hormones, at the Phase 2 quantity of 45,000 metric tons per year.

“I am very pleased that American ranchers and meat processors will be allowed to ship substantial quantities of high-quality U.S. beef into a market worth millions of dollars to their bottom lines,” said Froman. “Before the memorandum of understanding was signed, the EU’s beef market had been largely closed for far too long.

“The substantial market access that we have achieved since 2009 shows what we can accomplish with practical, problem-solving approaches to trade barriers.” Froman said.

“Since 2009, this agreement has greatly expanded opportunities for U.S. beef producers to export high-quality products to the European Union,” said Vilsack. “By working together with our EU partners to extend this agreement, we have maintained access to a key market for beef products, and set the stage for further progress.

“USTR and USDA will continue working closely with our trading partners around the world, including the EU, to further expand trade access for U.S. agricultural products.” Vilsack said.