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EU tariff-rate quota for US beef extended

September 12, 2013

On 1 August 2013, the EU extended an agreement to import high-quality US beef from non-hormone-treated cattle at zero duty for a further 2 years. This will allow the annual duty-free importation of 45,000 tonnes of beef, and extends the 2009 agreement concluded in partial resolution of the EUs ban on beef from cattle treated with certain growth-promoting hormones.

In the last year of application of the current agreement, American beef shipments under the quota were valued at about 151 million, up 300% from the year before the agreement came into force. The extension of the duty-free quota arrangement needs to be seen in the context of the launch of the negotiations on an EUUS Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (see Agritrade article Discussions on standards in EUUS trade negotiations carry global implic..., 4 May 2013).

In July 2013, a spokesperson from the Irish Food Boards Strategic Information Services, speaking about the latest long-term outlook report from Brazils Ministry of Agriculture, noted that total Brazilian beef production was forecast to increase by 22.5 per cent in the next 10 years to reach 10.9 million tonnes by 2022, while its exports are forecast to increase by 29 per cent over the same period to 1.88 million tonnes. In the first half of 2013, beef shipments from Brazil rose by 22 per cent to 679,000 tonnes compared to a year earlier, while export values were 14.6 per cent higher than the previous year. The largest growth in exports in January to June 2013 was reported in non-EU markets (Hong Kong, Algeria and Iran).

Also in July, the EU Council discussed new proposals for the labelling of meat from animals not stunned before slaughtering. The Dutch delegation considered it important that such meat be labelled to enable consumers to make informed choices, while other delegations noted that it was not yet clear to what extent EU consumers were interested in receiving such information. The EC is proposing to incorporate an assessment of consumer interest in this issue and its economic consequences in an ongoing study, as part of the EUs 20122015 animal welfare strategy. At present, the slaughter of animals without stunning is only allowed on religious grounds.