EU says making progress in U.S. beef, poultry rows

BRUSSELS - The European Union is making progress on two long-standing trade disputes with the United States that have hit U.S. exports of beef and poultry to the EU, European officials said.

Since the 1980s, the EU has banned imports of beef from the United States and other countries which are produced from cattle injected with artificial growth hormones.

But the ban was ruled illegal by the World Trade Organisation and the United States applied about $117 million of punitive duties a year on European exports, such Roquefort cheese, mustard, truffles, French hams and soups in retaliation.

"Yes, beef hormones is one," EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said when asked if the issue was one of two trans-Atlantic disputes that he recently hinted were close to being resolved.

Mandelson was talking to reporters on Friday at a briefing ahead of an EU-U.S. summit on Wednesday but his comments were embargoed for publication until Monday.

In 2003, the United States and the EU failed to reach a negotiated solution to the dispute. Other countries such as Canada, Australia and Mexico have also challenged the ban.

At the same briefing another EU official said Brussels was ready to reconsider its ban on imports of U.S. poultry meat treated by low-concentration chlorine washes for sterilisation.

Source: Reuters
calendar icon 19 June 2006
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