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Key Topic – USTR Action Regarding Beef Trade with EU

On Dec. 22, USTR announced that it is initiating the process of reinstating industry-supported tariffs on certain exports from the European Union to the United States. This action was taken in response to a request from the U.S. beef industry and is the latest installment in a long-running dispute between the U.S. and the EU over beef production practices.

USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng issued the following statement:

“We fully support USTR’s decision to use the means available to it under U.S. law to defend the interests of the U.S. beef industry. Over the past seven years, U.S. cattlemen and meat packers have made significant investments to meet the requirements of the EU market, only to see the U.S. share of the market undermined by producers in Australia, Uruguay and Argentina. This situation is unsustainable and demands a firm and decisive response.

“The U.S. beef industry has supported our government’s efforts to find a commercially feasible way for us 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.”

UPDATE: On Feb. 15-16, an inter-agency hearing was held on this topic. Thad Lively, senior vice president for trade access testified on behalf of USMEF. More details on the hearing are available online.

It is very important that our messaging on this issue remains consistent with the objectives of USTR and our industry partners. If you receive a media request on this issue, please email Joe Schuele at jschuele@usmef.org or call him at 303-547-0030.

UPDATE: Capacity available under the duty-free quota for the first quarter of the new quota year (July 1-Sept. 30) disappeared quickly, with more than half the quarter remaining. Importers had to wait until when the new quarter opened on Monday, Oct. 2 to clear product at zero duty. As a result, the influx of product during the first few days of October equated to about one-third of the capacity available for the entire October-December quarter.