United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday announced that the European Union will continue to provide U.S. beef producers with access to the EU market for non-hormone-treated beef at zero duty.
The Memorandum of Understanding stipulating the agreement was first signed in 2009 following the United States' long-running dispute with the European Union over its ban on beef from cattle treated with certain growth-promoting hormones.
The United States and the European Union are planning to extend phase two of the agreement for two years.
U.S. beef shipments under the quota were an estimated $200 million the year after the agreement, up 300% from the value of exports in the year before the MOU entered into force. Under the extension, the EU would maintain its duty-free tariff rate quota for beef until August 2, 2015 at the quantity of 45,000 metric tons per year
The extension means that American ranchers and meat processors will be allowed to ship substantial quantities of high-quality U.S. beef into a market worth millions of dollars to their bottom lines, Froman said.
"Before the memorandum of understanding was signed, the EU's beef market had been largely closed for far too long. The substantial market access that we have achieved since 2009 shows what we can accomplish with practical, problem-solving approaches to trade barriers," he said.
Vilsack said the continued agreement has set the stage for further progress.
"USTR and USDA will continue working closely with our trading partners around the world, including the EU, to further expand trade access for U.S. agricultural products," he said.