Farm Ireland

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Trump to back US ranchers and farmers in clear threat to Irish beef exports

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

US President Donald Trump has signalled his intention to support US farmers and ranchers as his administration mulls over a decision to hit EU exports with tariffs as high as 100pc.

The Trump’s administration has this week announced its trade agenda, which said it would be strongly advocating for all US farmers and ranchers large and small – to assure the "fairest possible treatment of American interests in the US market and in other markets around the world".

To achieve this objective the administration said it has identified four major priorities: 

  1. Defend US national sovereignty over trade policy;
  2. Strictly enforce US trade laws;
  3. Use all possible sources of leverage to encourage other countries to open their markets to US exports of goods and services, and provide adequate and effective protection and enforcement of US intellectual property rights
  4. Negotiate new and better trade deals with countries in key markets around the world. 

It comes as the US Trade representative is examining the the possibility of imposing a tariff on certain imported products, including beef, called for submissions on the situation and received more than 11,500 responses prior to the deadline.

The US has said it is taking action against what it calls the EU's unfair trade practices, which it says discriminate against the US beef industry.

It says the EU's ban on hormone-treated US beef is not based on sound science and discriminates against American beef farmers, ranchers and producers.

The US National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the US Meat Export Federation wrote to the Office of the US Trade Representative before Christmas calling for an end to tariff concessions on EU exports and said that the US domestic beef industry would benefit from such a move.

The ban has been in place for around 20 years, and led the US to tackle the EU at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Also Read

The EU bans the import of beef and beef products produced from animals to which any of six hormones have been administered for growth-promotion purposes in the US.

That case resulted in a 2009 deal with the EU agreeing to a hormone-free beef quota of 62,660 tonnes in carcass weight equivalent.

But the US says that agreement is not working as it should.

Other EU products under consideration for the imposition of increased duties include Roquefort cheese, hair clippers and Vespa scooters.

The European Commission had argued that this issue should be resolved through TTIP.

However, given that European officials decided after their trade ministers' meeting in September not to complete TTIP this year, the US has decided that now is the time to take action.

The US beef industry exports an average $6bn per year. These exports produce an estimated $7.6bn in economic activity and support 50,000 jobs in the US.

For Stories Like This and More
Download the FarmIreland App

Online Editors