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U.S. non-hormone beef gains more access to EU market

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Tariff-free quota for beef to grow from 13,000 metric tons to 35,000 metric tons over seven years

An agreement signed today at the White House gives American beef producers more access to the European Union market.

Under the new agreement, American ranchers will have an initial TRQ of 18,500 metric tons annually, valued at approximately $220 million.  Over seven years, the TRQ will grow to 35,000 metric tons annually, valued at approximately $420 million. This replaces the current agreement, under which duty-free beef exports to the EU are approximately 13,000 metric tons annually, valued at approximately $150 million.

The agreement for U.S. beef from non-hormone treated cattle was signed Aug. 2 by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the Honorable Jani Raappana of Finland, representing the Presidency of the EU, and Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis of the Delegation of the EU.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston hailed the announcement.

“America’s ranchers welcome the opportunity to supply a bigger share of Europe’s beef market,” Duvall said. “This agreement advances a three-decade long effort to expand market opportunities for American agriculture in the EU, and every victory counts.”

“Today is a good day for America’s cattlemen and cattlewomen,” Houston said. “For many years it has been difficult for us to sell our high-quality U.S. beef to European consumers because of the restrictive tariff and non-tariff barriers, but the establishment of this 35,000 metric ton duty-free quota sends the signal to America’s cattle industry that Europe is ready for U.S. beef.”

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, thanked the Trump administration for their efforts.

“This agreement will provide some relief to American ranchers during an uncertain trading atmosphere,” Roberts said. “I appreciate the administration acting on my decades-long persistence in pushing for greater access for U.S. beef in the EU. I look forward to the upcoming EU Parliament vote to seal this deal.”


In 2016, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, U.S. Meat Export Federation, and the North American Meat Institute requested the U.S. Trade Representative to take tariff action under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to enforce the World Trade Organization dispute finding in favor of the United States against the EU’s ban on the use of hormones in cattle production. USTR held a public hearing on February 15, 2017. 

Negotiations resulted in a new agreement, which was approved by the European Council on July 15, 2019. It will go into effect following the European Parliament’s approval, which is expected this fall. With the EU providing a country specific duty-free quota for U.S. beef, the United States has agreed as a part of the agreement signed today to conclude the proceedings under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 initiated in December 2016.

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