Europe takes a step back on the US free-hormone beef issue
The European Council adopted a decision on the US share in the TRQ for hormone-free beef. This follows a previous announcement from Brussels that it had brokered a deal with the US that conclusively ends a row over restrictions on beef imports into the European market which dates back to 1989.
Back in 2009, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) provided an interim solution to a longstanding WTO dispute regarding the imports of US beef treated with certain growth-promoting hormones. Under the agreement, a 45,000 tons quota of non-hormone treated beef was opened by the EU to qualifying suppliers. The quota also had to be made available to non-US suppliers, under WTO rules.
Thanks to the new agreement, the existing quota will remain unchanged, but 35,000 of the 45,000 tons of the total tariff will be reserved for the United States and will be phased in over a seven-year period. The tariff quota will continue to cover only products that meet the EU's high standards of food safety and health. The agreement will be signed in Brussels at the earliest possible date, according to the European Council.