March 4, 2016
US reopens market to Dutch beef
The European Commission has welcomed the US announcement that it would lift its ban on beef imports from the Netherlands.
The US has banned beef from the EU over disease issues, particularly the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak, since January 1998.
The Netherlands is the third EU country to gain access to the US market since the BSE-related ban, after Ireland and Lithuania.
"The opening of the US market to Dutch beef sends a positive signal to producers in other parts of the EU that are still waiting for the end of the disproportionately strict and lasting US trade restrictions", the EC said.
EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said, "I welcome this move as a sign of recognition for our comprehensive and effective measures to eradicate BSE in Europe. I hope the US will now act expeditiously to extend the approval to all imports from the EU and I call on the remaining EU partners who still maintain restrictive measures to fully adopt recognised international standards".
For her part, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said, "In times when we are working hard to build a new partnership for trade and investment, keeping old unnecessary obstacles makes no sense. I am glad we are going in the right direction in this respect and hope that the Dutch beef producers will be able to benefit from the new market opportunities very soon".
EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan commented: "Opening the US market to Dutch beef provides a further export outlet for our high-quality EU product. Unlocking technical barriers to exports is part of our diplomatic offensive to drive exports and find new markets for EU producers".
The EC had claimed that the beef import ban went beyond the recommendations of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), which stated that deboned beef, for instance, was safe and could be freely traded from all EU countries regardless of BSE status.