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Ambassador Kirk and Commissioner De Gucht Focus on Working to Increase U.S. Beef Exports to the EU

This week, Ambassador Kirk met with his European Union (EU) counterpart, Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht to discuss a wide range of multilateral and bilateral trade issues, including their mutual interest in achieving a successful transition to the second phase of the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the U.S.-EU disagreement over trade in beef derived from livestock that have been raised with growth-promoting hormones. Under this MOU, the United States has been shipping high-quality beef to the EU since the middle of 2009, after a decade largely out of the EU beef market. If the two sides agree next year to move to the second phase of the MOU, the United States exporters would have the opportunity to more than double beef exports to the EU. Ambassador Kirk and Commissioner De Gucht also discussed several other issues, seeking to resolve bilateral challenges in the same pragmatic spirit that helped the two sides reach agreement on the beef MOU. The two also exchanged views on the status of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations in the World Trade Organization.

Ambassador Kirk and EU Commissioner Karel De Gucht
Ambassador Kirk and EU Commissioner Karel De Gucht

Commissioner De Gucht leads the development and implementation of trade policy for the 27 member nations of the EU. Ambassador Kirk and Commissioner De Gucht have held more than half a dozen face-to-face meetings and several phone conversations in the 16 months since Commissioner De Gucht was appointed. The frequency of these discussions reflects the importance of the immense U.S.-EU trade relationship to both U.S. and EU prosperity – and to the global economy.

The United States exported more than $240 billion in goods to the EU in 2010, and more than $293 billion in services in 2009. U.S. companies directly owned assets in the EU worth more than $1.7 trillion in 2009, and Europeans directly invested more than $1.5 trillion in the United States that year. In 2008, U.S.-owned companies operating in the EU sold a remarkable $560 billion in services to European customers.