During the Strasbourg plenary session tomorrow the European Parliament will end the twenty year old transatlantic beef wars. Condemned by the WTO for its refusal to import hormone-treated beef originating in the United States and Canada, and being subject to retaliatory trade measures costing millions of Euros each year, the EU has always refused to budge on its principles and ensured that European consumers have guarantees on the quality of imported meat. Ultimately, an agreement was reached allowing the lifting of sanctions in exchange for import quotas for U.S. and Canadian hormone-free high-quality beef.
ALDE Press release, 13.03.2012 Marietje Schaake (D66, The Nederlands), ALDE spokesperson for this issue in the International Trade Committee, and member of the Parliament's US delegation said: "This agreement should serve as a basis for solving other transatlantic trade disputes which should be prevented in the future. With the rise of the BRIC countries the US and EU have a huge interest in ensuring that WTO rules are respected since long-lasting conflicts damage multilateralism. We must work together more closely and I welcome the promising steps by the U.S. to remove the BSE ban on EU beef. This deal should be used as a first step towards achieving a more integrated Transatlantic marketplace to drive jobs and growth. George Lyon (LibDem, UK), ALDE coordinator and Rapporteur for Opinion in the Agriculture Committee, said: "This deal constitutes a win-win for both farmers and consumers in both the EU and the US. We keep our ban on hormone-treated beef in place and US sanctions are removed on some of our most sensitive products. In return, the US gets easier access to our market for high-quality beef cuts. We also welcome the long-awaited US move to adopt new BSE rules that will allow a resumption of EU beef and veal exports to the US. I would urge them to adopt their BSE rule as soon as possible to further reinforce trust between the EU and US on trade matters. This is an important step forward in normalizing trade relations with the US."