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Panel Finds EU Ban on Hormones Remains WTO-Inconsistent

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

(American Meat Institute)

U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab announced this week that a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel has found that the 2003 amended ban by the European Union (EU) on beef from certain hormone-treated cattle continues to be scientifically unjustified. 

The panel found that the ban fails to satisfy the requirements of the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and that the scientific studies cited by the EU do not support the EU’s position.  

The dispute regarding the EU ban on beef from animals administered certain growth promoting hormones dates back to 1996 and is one of the longest-standing disputes in the history of the WTO. The United States successfully challenged the EU’s prohibition on the importation of meat from cattle that had been administered certain growth promoting hormones and the WTO Dispute Settlement Body authorized the United States to increase tariffs on imports from the EU in the amount of $116.8 million per year. 

In its report, the WTO panel found that the EU failed to show that it had removed the inconsistent measure because its amended ban still fails to satisfy the requirements of the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.  The panel also found that the United States was not required to initiate an Article 21.5 proceeding, but that the United States should have had recourse to some form of dispute settlement after the notification of the EU’s amended ban.
Both the United States and the EU have an opportunity to appeal the report.

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