The European Commission proposed Monday (September 3rd) to open official talks with the United States in order to address American concerns that their farmers are not receiving a fair share of the European beef market. This initiative is not part of the agreement reached in July between Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and US President Donald Trump. It could, however, ease the growing trade tensions between the two partners.
The Commission on Monday announced its intention to ask member states for a negotiating mandate to resolve the long-standing dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over US beef exports. The dispute is over a 2009 agreement that allows the United States to export 45,000 tonnes of hormone-free beef per year. But the same quota is provided for other beef exporting countries like Australia and Uruguay, which reduces the market share of American ranchers.
The European Commission proposes to allocate part of the current quota specifically to the United States and possibly to distribute the entire quota among the exporting countries. Washington called for a review of the agreement in 2016. The European Union granted the quota of 45,000 tonnes following a decision by the WTO’s appeals body which ruled in 1998 that a ban of the EU concerning beef treated with one of the six specific growth-promoting hormones was against its rules.