Clements: Under a new agreement between the U.S. and the European Union, the U.S. will be able to ship more beef to the EU, providing U.S. ranchers a new trade opportunity, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The agreement allows for sales of 35,000 tons of U.S.-raised hormone-free beef to the EU. Dave Salmonsen, AFBF senior director of congressional relations, says the agreement has been a long-time coming.
Salmonsen: Back in 2009, there was an original agreement between the U.S. and the EU that they would establish a quota, but over the years the U.S. share of that deteriorated. It was established then as 45,000 tons, but there weren’t specific country shares. So, there was a renegotiation started about a year and a half ago to try to establish a specific U.S. quota.
Clements: While the announcement is welcomed by U.S. agriculture, Salmonsen says the new quota represents just a sliver of the market.
Salmonsen: This does not get to the point of trying to open up the entire EU beef market. The U.S. has been working on that for decades. So, this is a step in that direction, it shows the EU is willing to talk to the U.S. about beef specifically. We hope that expands to other meat products and we think it’s a good sign for the future.
Clements: Salmonsen says U.S. farmers and ranchers are optimistic the beef agreement signals a willingness on the part of the EU to further open its market to American agricultural products.
Salmonsen: We want the overall trade agreement with the EU to include agriculture. Again, we think that this beef agreement is good for that. We’ll show that we can move ahead, that U.S. and EU can come together on trade agreements and we hope the overall negotiation continues with them and includes agriculture.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.