24 March 1999
Dispatches from the trade trenches

THE Financial Times sees a bitter trade war looming between the USA and the European Union (EU) over hormone-treated beef.

The paper says the EU has reacted with restraint to a US threat of sanctions over the EUs ban on the beef.

But it feels this moderate reaction could turn nasty in the next few weeks when the EU is obliged to comply with a ruling by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The EU maintains it wants to await the outcome of scientific testing before lifting its ban.

But EU officials fear the USA will be tempted to take an uncompromising stance “to show Congress that it can get results by acting tough”.

The National Farmers Union of Scotland president Jim Walker, reported in The Herald, accuses the USA of a “cynical attempt” to set its political agenda in advance of the May deadline of the WTO.