Trump presides over U.S.-EU beef trade ceremony
President Donald Trump last week presided over a White House ceremony at which U.S. and European Union officials signed an agreement that will guarantee the United States a specific quota for non-hormone fed beef.
The agreement is expected to allow U.S. producers to triple their annual duty-free exports of beef to the EU over the next seven years.
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, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said.
“My administration is standing up for our farmers and ranchers like never before,” Trump said. “We’re protecting our farmers. We’re doing it in many ways, including with China. You may have read a little bit about China lately.”
“Agricultural products and exports have increased by more than $10 billion, and beef exports have increased by more than 31%,” Trump said.
“In another major win, we fully opened the Japanese market to U.S. beef. We also opened markets in Tunisia, Morocco and Australia. I think you’re pretty happy about all of that, right? You’ve never seen anything like that happen before, have you? Huh?”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston, who was present at the ceremony, said, “We have not.”
“Not with your other presidents, you haven’t,” Trump responded according to a White House transcript.
“And we’re reducing burdensome regulations that unfairly impact agricultural producers,” Trump continued.
“When our farmers became victims of unjustified retaliatory tariffs from China and other countries, we provided $28 billion, over a two-year period, in relief. They were targeted, and we took care of our farmers and ranchers. And I signed a historic farm bill, which provides our farmers with certainty and the kind of certainty that they need while supporting increased agricultural exports.”
“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 EU Ambassador to the United States Stavros Lambrinidis.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement, “Getting more U.S. beef into the EU market is yet another example of President Trump expanding markets around the globe for our agriculture producers.”
“EU consumers desire high quality products, and I have no doubt that when given the opportunity to purchase U.S. products we will see more Europeans choose to buy American. America’s farmers and ranchers are the most productive on earth and I thank President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for their continued work to promote the bounty of the American harvest across the world.”
Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Hoeven, R-N.D., noted that he had participated in the White House signing ceremony and released a video.
“This agreement between the United States and the European Union will enable our ranchers to export more beef to Europe. It will almost triple the amount of beef the U.S. is able to export over time, which is a real win for our ranchers,” Hoeven said.
“Our producers can compete with anyone, which is why we need to get trade agreements in place and provide them with access to markets.”
In a statement released after the event, Houston said, “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.”
“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,” Houston said.
“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. And this would not have happened if it were not for the effort of President Trump and his trade team.”
The agreement is a resolution to a longstanding trade conflict between the United States and the European Union.
In 1989, the European Union banned the importation of hormone-fed beef, but in 1997 a World Trade Organization panel ruled that the ban was not scientific or legal under WTO standards. The United States imposed retaliatory tariffs, but the issue was later resolved by the European Union creating a duty-free tariff-rate quota for non-hormone fed beef.
Other countries began to take a large part of that quota, however, and in 2016, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, U.S. Meat Export Federation, and the North American Meat Institute requested the 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.
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 to conclude the proceedings under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 initiated in December 2016. ❖
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