EU Ready for Talks over U.S. Beef

The European Union is readying to negotiate with the United States to allow the U.S. to increase beef exports to EU countries. The European Commission sought approval from its 28-member states last month to open negotiations with Washington. The approval process is expected to be completed next week to allow negotiations to begin.

Beef is separate from an arrangement between President Trump and the EU to consider a free trade agreement. Reuters reports that a negotiated agreement on beef would settle a dispute that dates back to 1981 when the European Union banned the use of growth hormones in meat across the EU, including imports. The EU says it will look to raise the U.S. share of hormone-free beef imports into Europe, but would need to convince other countries considered to be “substantial” suppliers to accept less.

In 2009, the EU and the U.S. agreed to a quota system for hormone-free beef imports, but U.S. share of the quota has slipped from 100 percent to 30 percent.