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United States and European Union Reach Provisional Agreement in Beef Dispute

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton agreed in principle on a way forward in the long-running dispute over hormone-treated beef.

The agreement in principle would provide additional duty-free access to the EU market for high-quality beef produced from cattle that have not been treated with growth-promoting hormones – 20,000 tons in the first three years and increasing to 45,000 tons beginning in the fourth year.  Under the agreement, the United States will maintain existing sanctions and will not impose new sanctions on EU products during the initial three-year period, and will eliminate all sanctions during the fourth year.  The two sides will refrain from further litigation at the World Trade Organization regarding the EU’s ban on beef treated with certain growth-promoting hormones for at least 18 months.  Before the end of the four-year period, the two sides will seek to conclude a longer-term agreement.

Ambassador Kirk and Commissioner Ashton issued the following statement after the call:

“Following a very good discussion today, we have reached an understanding that provides a pragmatic way forward in the long-running beef dispute.

“An agreement is in our mutual interest, and we will now discuss this with our respective stakeholders and constituencies in an effort to finalize it as soon as possible.

“Reaching an agreement on this issue will be a clear sign of our commitment to working through -- and, where possible, resolving -- the bilateral disputes in our trade relationship.  We will continue our close cooperation on other outstanding issues in the future.”