December 23, 2016
USMEF statement in support of USTR's action on beef trade with EU
The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it is initiating the process of reinstating industry-supported tariffs on US$116.8 million of exports from the EU to the US, the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) says.
The action was taken in response to a request from the US beef industry and is the latest installment in a long-running dispute between the US and the EU over beef production practices. Even though the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled against the EU in two separate decisions, it has not been possible to find a lasting settlement to this dispute. In 2009, the EU agreed to compensate the US by creating a duty-free quota for specially-produced beef. The US once supplied most of the beef imported under the quota, but over the past three years, US beef has accounted for a minority and declining share of these imports.
US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) president and CEO Philip Seng issued the following statement: "We fully support USTR's decision to use the means available to it under US law to defend the interests of the US beef industry. Over the past seven years, US cattlemen and meat packers have made significant investments to meet the requirements of the EU market, only to see the US share of the market undermined by producers in Australia, Uruguay and Argentina. This situation is unsustainable and demands a firm and decisive response."
According to Seng, the US beef industry has supported the government's efforts to find a commercially feasible way for the sector to participate in the EU market. "The 2009 agreement initially appeared to represent a step in that direction, but unfortunately, it has not lived up to the industry's expectations. Under the circumstances, we cannot agree to stand by as our competitors take an ever-expanding share of a quota that was specifically created to compensate the United States," he adds.