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EU Commission proposes settling beef dispute with United States

WTO dispute has been going on for almost a decade

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

The European Commission proposed on Monday opening formal talks with the United States to address US concerns that its farmers do not get a fair share of the Europe's beef market.

The move is not part of the agreement struck between the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and US President Donald Trump in July, but could serve to ease mounting trade tensions between the transatlantic partners.

The Commission said on Monday that it was asking EU countries for a negotiating mandate to settle the long-standing World Trade Organisation dispute over US beef exports.

The dispute concerns an existing agreement from 2009 that allowed the United States to export 45,000 tonnes per year of hormone-free beef. However, the same quota was also available to other beef-exporting nations, such as Australia and Uruguay, eating into the share for US farmers.

The Commission's proposals suggests allocating a part of the existing quota specifically to the United States and possibly to split the whole quota among exporting countries.

Washington called for a review in 2016.

The European Union granted the quota after the WTO's appeals body ruled in 1998 that an EU ban on beef treated with any of six specific growth-promoting hormones flouted WTO rules.

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