The European Commission calls for negotiations with the US over a longstanding dispute on exporting hormone-free US beef to the EU.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute between the two parties arises from an existing quota on exporting hormone-free US beef into Europe, and has been a point of contention for some time. However, following talks between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and US President Donald Trump in July, during which the pair committed to entering a new phase in their trading relationship, the EU has declared its ambition to put an end to the dispute.
What solutions have the EU proposed to settle the dispute?
The Commission proposes a number of approaches that the European Council could take to settle the dispute in its recommendations. This includes allocating to the US a part of the existing quota that is already available to exporters in other countries.
The Commission also suggests that the two parties pursue a mutually agreed way forward based on the country allocation of the existing quota, in a manner that is consistent with WTO rules. The aim of these proposals is to pursue a mutually satisfactory solution and to ensure that the quota is applied fairly.
Why is this a priority for the EU?
According to Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan, the Commission’s proposal is an important step in advancing the relationship between the EU and the US in terms of trade: “The Commission is delivering on an engagement taken earlier this year to try to address some concerns raised by the United States on the functioning of the quota in a mutually satisfactory solution that is fully in line with WTO rules.”
However, this will not mean a lowering of the EU’s standards, he added: “I want to reassure European producers that the already existing beef quota… will remain at exactly the same level. And I want also to reassure our consumers that the said quota will continue to cover only products complying with Europe’s high food safety and health standards, in this case only non-hormone treated beef.”