US signs trade agreement with European Union to expand beef exports

USA – The United States has signed an agreement with the European Union to lower trade barriers to Europe in a move that seeks to expand the beef export market access.

“This is a tremendous victory for American farmers, ranchers and of course, European consumers,” president Donald Trump said at the White House as he unveiled the deal.

US and European Union officials have been laying the groundwork for talks on a trade agreement, but had faced an impasse over agriculture.

Over the course of the agreement, annual duty-free U.S. beef exports to the EU are expected to nearly triple to US$420 million from US$150 million, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU ambassador to the US, praised the agreement as a “great example of how the multilateral trading system can work adding that “With this agreement, the EU reaffirms its commitment to a positive trans-Atlantic trade agenda and a new phase in US-EU relations.”

EU sources and diplomats in June said a deal was reached to allow the US a guaranteed share of European quota for hormone-free beef.

The EU will accept 45,000 tons of hormone-free beef from foreign countries every year, and America will be allowed to fulfill 35 000 tonnes of that quota after seven years — roughly 80 percent of the total.

The agreement comes as the agriculture industry has taken a hit from Trump’s ongoing trade war with China.

Producers have been hurt by retaliatory tariffs that China imposed after Trump imposed 25% tariffs on US$250 billion in Chinese products.

The US government recently announced details of a US$16 billion aid package for farmers affected by the trade conflict.

The signing of the agreement comes the day after Trump increased pressure on China to reach a trade deal by saying he will impose 10% tariffs Sept. 1 on the remaining US$300 billion in Chinese imports.

The Trump administration has been pursuing a host of new trade deals with Europe, China and others but difficulties in securing final pacts have roiled financial markets.

Lingering issues remain in other areas of U.S.-EU trade, including import duties on industrial goods that Europe wants removed.

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