US and EU agree deal on duty-free beef exports

Legislation | | MIC Customs Solutions |

The US will be able to send more beef to Europe quota-free under a new agreement.

The European Union has agreed a deal with the US that means the north American nation will be able to almost triple the amount of beef it exports duty-free to Europe over the next seven years.

Under the agreement, a duty-free tariff rate quota (TRQ) has been established exclusively for the US that will give exporting businesses an initial allowance of 18,500 metric tons a year, up from the 13,000 allowed today.

Over seven years, the TRQ will increase to 35,000 metric tons each year, with annual duty-free exports expected to grow from $150 million (€134 million) to $420 million once the agreement has been fully implemented.

US trade representative Robert Lighthizer signed the agreement with the Honorable Jani Raappana of Finland, representing the Presidency of the EU.

The deal will come into effect after it has been approved by the European Parliament, which should be this autumn.

As part of the agreement, the US has agreed to conclude the proceedings under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 initiated in December 2016. 

Commenting on the news, US president Donald Trump told reporters: "The European Union stepped up, and we appreciate it. This is a tremendous victory for American farmers, ranchers and of course European consumers, because American beef is considered the best in the world."

The previous quota had been established a decade ago to settle a dispute over an EU ban on American cattle that had been raised with growth hormones, and it resulted in Australia, Argentina and Uruguay replacing America as the largest beef suppliers to Europe.

Importantly, this new deal relates to the importation of hormone-free beef only.