CIAA welcomes EU-US deal putting an end to the hormone beef dispute

Date

19 May 2009

Sections

Health & Consumers

The Confederation of food and drink industries of the EU (CIAA) welcomes the bilateral agreement between the EU and US on the beef hormone dispute, initialled yesterday evening in Geneva. Ten years of retaliation have had severe consequences for many EU food producers. The USA is the first foreign destination for European food and drink products with value of exports exceeding €10 billion[1]. Considering the importance of this market, CIAA was seriously alarmed by the US announcement that it planned to rotate the list of products subject to retaliation. This would have resulted in great economic damage to EU food and drink exports and made access to the US market completely unpredictable[2].

Speaking after the agreement was announced, CIAA President, Jean Martin said ” We are glad this threat has not materialised and that normal access to the US market for European products is now in sight.” He continued, “The European Food & Drink Industry has long awaited this settlement and now urges both sides to resolve the issue definitively”.

Indeed the retaliation list will not disappear immediately. The value of applied retaliation will decrease only gradually, and some products will continue to be held hostage for another three years. Understandably, this is difficult to accept for producers directly concerned by the retaliatory measures. Moreover, the new agreement leaves the issue of the legitimacy of the EU ban unsettled, which means that further US claims cannot be excluded in the future.

Nevertheless, CIAA has strongly supported the European Commission in its endeavours to negotiate trade compensations with the US and believes that today, the overall outcome of negotiations is acceptable. We are grateful to the European Commission and EU decision-makers for their efforts in finding a workable solution for the EU food and drink industry.

http://www.ciaa.be/asp/press_room/detailed_doc.asp?doc_id=868