16 July 1999

US row might hit EU pigmeat

PIGMEAT exports to the US could be crippled after the World Trade Organisations finding this week that the EU was wrong to ban imports of US beef treated with artificial growth hormones.

The WTO has ruled that the US now has the right to impose 100% extra tariffs on a range of imports worth $116m (£74m). EU pigmeat, including UK rib exports worth over £8m, are on the list, and the extra duty would effectively price it out of the market. The US will decide which products to target by the end of the month.

The Meat and Livestock Commission has, along with exporter Malton Foods, been busy lobbying. "It is unfair to penalise pig producers for a problem over beef," says the MLCs Mick Sloyan. "Given the recent difficulties, anything that affects the market undermines the price that bit more." &#42