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United States Delays Imposition of Additional Duties on E.U. in Order to Continue Efforts to Resolve Longstanding Beef Dispute

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

(American Meat Institute)

The U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has announced that due to recent positive developments in the ongoing negotiations with the E.U., the U.S. will delay ─ by at least two weeks ─  the imposition of additional duties on a modified list of EU products.  The duties are being considered because of an ongoing dispute with the E.U. over hormones used in U.S. beef.  The additional duties were to go into effect on April 23, 2009.

 

“The .EU. has demonstrated seriousness in their efforts to solve this problem, and two additional weeks should be sufficient to establish whether we can address the remaining issues successfully,” said Ambassador Kirk.  Talks will begin in earnest on Monday in Geneva. E.U. Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton spoke to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk on Tuesday and Wednesday in an effort to put an end to the row, with Ashton giving a personal commitment to resolve the dispute.

 

“It appears as if progress is being made and we urge the two sides to resolve this issue as soon as possible,” said AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle.  “We hope that this dispute can be resolved and allow the U.S. greater access to the European Union market,” he added.

 

The U.S. negotiators will fly to Geneva this weekend.

 

The beef hormones dispute goes back to the late 1980s, when the EU banned beef from cattle raised with artificial growth hormones, a common industry practice in the United States and Canada. In 1998, the WTO found that the EU’s ban on U.S. beef was not supported by science and was thus inconsistent with WTO rules.  When the EU failed to bring its ban into compliance with its WTO obligations, the WTO authorized the United States to take retaliatory trade measures with an annual trade value of $116.8 million.  In July 1999, the United States imposed additional duties on a list of EU products in accordance with the WTO authorization.  That list remained unchanged until the modifications were announced on January 15, 2009. 

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