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Agricultural News

TTIP Could Open the Door for Increased U.S. Beef Exports to Europe

Mon, 09 May 2016 19:38:41 CDT

TTIP Could Open the Door for Increased U.S. Beef Exports to Europe

There has been a lot of talk about trade agreements lately - specifically, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Kent Bacus, associate director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership should also be on producers’ radars.

TTIP is a bilateral trade deal that continues to evolve between the United States and the European Union.

“We see TTIP as a great opportunity to expand our presence in the European market, which up until lately has been fairly limited,” Bacus says. “There is a lot of demand over there for high-quality U.S. beef, and we just want access to our consumers.”

Bacus says that while creating market access is a high priority for the U.S., overcoming the EU’s aversion to growth hormones used in beef cattle is going to be a challenge.

“We want to eliminate tariffs, all TRQs or quotas and export subsidies that put a lot of artificial barriers in to the volume and and the price of the product that we are sending into that market,” he says. “Probably the biggest battle is going to be over the science-based standards - or the lack thereof - with the Europeans.

“I don’t think it’s any surprise that for the last few decades we’ve been fighting with Europe over the use of growth promotants or hormones that are a fundamental part of our production practices here in the U.S. They banned them in the European Union, and even though the WTO has stated that the U.S. is correct in its ability to use them, we still face a lot of restrictions on beef we can sell to the European market.”

Currently, only a small amount of American beef is raised to meet the EU’s requirements.

“We just want to be able to sell the same beef to European consumers that we sell to all American consumers,” Bacus says. “I think it’s interesting that when European tourists come to the United States, they definitely want to eat beef. They want to have steak; they want to have hamburgers; they want all the things that Americans enjoy, but their own government won’t allow them to have it back home.”

TTIP is still in the negotiation stage and is not expected to be finalized until after a new presidential administration takes over. Bacus says officials recently finished the 13th round of negotiations.

“With economies as large as the U.S. economy and the European economy, it takes a lot of conversations when you’re trying to tear down a lot of barriers that are in place between goods flowing between our two countries,” he says.

Listen to Bacus explain more about the TTIP during this week’s Beef Buzz.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.



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