In a joint statement issued Aug. 1, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced a two-year extension of Phase 2 of the M.O.U. that allows zero-duty access to the European Union market for up to 45,000 metric tons per year of beef produced from non-hormone-treated (NHT) cattle. The extension ensures that the duty-free quota will be maintained until at least Aug. 2, 2015.
Imports under the duty-free quota are not exclusive to U.S. beef but must meet the following product definition: beef from NHT cattle less than 30 months of age; on feed for at least 100 days with minimum energy and intake requirements; and carcasses must be quality graded. The quota currently is open to imports from the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Uruguay. For the quota year ending June 30, total EU imports under the quota were 32,196 mt, which was relatively steady with the previous year.
USMEF estimates that in-quota imports from the United States were 16,500 mt – a 4 percent increase over the previous quota year – accounting for 51 percent of the total. Estimating in-quota volumes from other suppliers is difficult; however, import data suggest that Australian beef accounted for approximately 25 percent of the in-quota total for the past year and Uruguay accounted for about 20 percent – with a small volume from Canada and New Zealand.