U.S. beef supporters celebrate trade agreement with E.U.
By KRISTIN DANLEY-
Anytime the U.S. can boost the influx of beef into overseas markets, it’s a boon to the industry. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced this week that an agreement was signed between the U.S. and the European Union solidifying beef exports into that territory.
Per the agreement, annual duty-free U.S. beef exports to the EU will nearly triple to $420 million from $150 million, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The European Commission noted during the meeting that all the beef coming in would need to be hormone-free, in line with EU food safety rules. The deal still needs approval from the European Parliament.
“EU consumers desire high quality products, and I have no doubt that when given the opportunity to purchase U.S. products we will see more Europeans choose to buy American. America’s farmers and ranchers are the most productive on earth,” Purdue said.
Craig Hill, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, said the news was encouraging for Iowa’s beef producers, especially considering the difficulties the ag economy has faced recently.
“The opportunity to supply a larger share of Europe’s beef market is encouraging news for Iowa farm families who raise cattle. This new agreement is the result of a three-decade long effort to expand agricultural market opportunities within the EU. At a point in time when the agriculture economy is struggling, every trade advancement counts. We encourage U.S. negotiators to continue to work towards trade agreements that level the playing field for all farmers and provide access to critical export markets,” Hill said.
Matt Deppe, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association’s chief executive officer, applauded the agreement and hopes that more progress can be made with other markets like Mexico, Canada and Japan.
“With U.S. beef export value being worth more than $300 the value of a fed steer, the ICA appreciates successful efforts like this one by our current administration to strengthen global demand of our product. In parallel, we continue to work toward even more global opportunities moving forward,” Deppe said. “Following the August congressional recess, we encourage Congress to make amends and finalize our country’s commitment to USMCA – a trade agreement that strongly supports U.S. beef trade with Mexico and Canada. Just as importantly, if passed, USMCA sets forward opportunities ahead with countries like Japan where a bilateral agreement would place us on a level playing field with other competitors.”
Chris Freland, executive director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council, said the association welcomed the agreement.
“As a contributor of beef checkoff dollars to the U. S. Meat Export Federation, Iowa Beef Industry Council is always pleased when additional beef products are meeting global demands,” Freland said.
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