04 June 1999
Europe seeks WTO ruling on sanctions

The European Union has requested World Trade Organisation (WTO) arbitration on the level of sanctions demanded by the USA and Canada over the EU ban on hormone-treated beef.

The USA is seeking WTO authorisation to impose $202 million (£125m) in retaliatory tariffs, while Canada has put the damage to its beef exporters at $51m (£32m).

Sir Leon Brittan, EU trade commissioner, said the figures were “grossly excessive”. He says a figure of between $50m and $100m is more realistic.

The WTO ruled last year the EU ban on beef treated with growth hormones was not justified by adequate scientific evidence. Brussels has refused to lift the ban, saying new studies show a possible cancer risk.