Provisional Agreement in EU-US beef trade dispute

27 May 2009

It is being reported from both sides of the Atlantic that the EU and the US have reached a provisional agreement in the long-running dispute over the EU ban on American hormone-treated beef.

What has been agreed?

Under the agreement, the EU will provide access at zero duty of up to 45,000 tons of US beef produced from non-hormone treated cattle. At present 11,500 tons of US beef are allowed into the EU and they are subject to a 20 percent duty rate.  In return, the US has agreed to forego new sanctions against a wide-range of EU products that were due to come into force at the beginning of May 2009. The US has also agreed to eliminate all sanctions against EC products but in the fourth year of this agreement. Exporters who export to the US should be aware that existing (reduced) sanctions will remain in place for the coming four years.



EU-US Trade

The EU and the US form the largest bilateral trade partnership in the world in goods and services combined. Goods trade in 2008 amounted to €435 billion and in the same year the EU enjoyed a trade surplus of €63 billion in goods trade with the US, importing €186 billion while exporting €249 billion.


Action Steps

The additional customs duties under the above agreement are limited to a number of specific customs commodity codes.  Businesses adversely affected by these measures should review the codes they use as errors are often made in this area.

If the codes used are correct and your goods suffer under these measures then we recommend you look at other planning issues to minimise the impact of these penalties including tariff engineering, stripping legitimate costs out of the customs value and the use of duty relief schemes.

If you would like to discuss any of these steps then please call Rob Jenkins on 01905 619229 or e-mail us at

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