Beef deal a gleam of hope for US-EU trade tensions
Wed May 6, 2009 6:03pm EDT
By Roberta Rampton - Analysis
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and European Union have agreed to temporarily put aside a 20-year fight over beef and do some business -- a new pragmatic stage in a testy trade relationship that experts say could bode well for other bilateral fights.
The four-year provisional deal on beef does not solve the fundamental divide over food safety regulations that has kept most U.S. beef out of the EU market since the late 1980s.
But it shows a willingness on both sides to try to start to find ways to work through thorny food issues, observers said.
"The significance of this deal is the fact that it is an attempt by both sides to see if we can overcome the lack of trust," said Gregg Doud, chief economist of the U.S. National Cattlemen's Beef Association, in an interview.
"There is such a low level of trust between the two sides on trade issues at the moment, in particular on agriculture." Read More
US beef will finally start heading into the European Union after an agreement was announced yesterday. Situations like this arise when sound science is thrown out the window in favor of emotional arguments. In this case, the situation has lasted for 20 years and has cost the industry an incredible amount of money. Using safe technology, like growth promotants, has allowed us to greatly increase our efficiency. It takes less water, less feed and less land to raise cattle than it would otherwise.