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Update on EU Duty-free Beef Quota Usage

After a fast start in 2016, imports under the European Union’s duty-free high-quality beef quota slowed in late January and early February. Volume utilized as of Feb. 11 totaled 5,487 metric tons (mt), with another 47 mt awaiting allocation.

A small carryover from the previous quarter has been added to the available January-March capacity for the quota, so the total volume available through March 31 is now 12,324 mt. Sluggish demand suggests that a more significant volume may be carried over into the April-June quarter.

U.S. beef accounted for 40 percent of imports under the quota in the last quota year, which ended June 30, 2015. In the first two quarters of the current quota year, U.S. share slipped to 36 percent and 35 percent, respectively. In January 2016, U.S. share edged downward again to 34 percent, followed closely by Australia at 32 percent. Other suppliers’ shares in January were Uruguay (28 percent) and Argentina (4 percent). New Zealand and Canada split the remaining 2 percent.