USMEF Statement in Support of USTR’s Action on Beef Trade with EU

Today the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it is initiating the process of reinstating industry-supported tariffs on $116.8 million of exports from the European Union (EU) 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. 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 United States by creating a duty-free quota for specially-produced beef. The United States once supplied most of the beef imported under the quota, but over the past three years U.S. beef has accounted for a minority and declining share of these imports.

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.”

More details on this issue are available in this USTR news release.

If you have questions or need more information, please email Joe Schuele or call 303-547-0030.