02 February 1999
Now EU and USA clash over beef

THE USA is fighting on another front in its trade battle with the European Union (EU) after it re-opened a long-running dispute over beef hormones.

US officials said the EU appeared to have no intention of lifting its 10-year-old ban on hormone-treated beef by 13 May, the date set by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for implementing its ruling against the ban.

The move comes soon after the USA agreed to suspend sanctions against EU imports pending the outcome of arbitration on the EUs alleged failure to comply with an adverse WTO ruling on its banana import regime.

The USA has also threatened to retaliate if Brussels does not lift the beef ban which the USA estimates is costing its cattle farmers $250m a year in lost exports.

The USA has urged the EU to discuss “WTO-consistent solutions” before the May deadline expires.

The EU says the ruling allows the ban to be maintained provided it can be justified by scientific evidence that the hormones pose a health risk for consumers. It has commissioned research on that issue but this would not be ready for the May deadline.