USTR Delays Import Duty Hikes in EU Beef Hormone Case

March 12, 2009 07:00 PM

Pro Farmer Editors

The U.S. will delay for one month the imposition of duties on products from the European Union (EU) relative to the long-running beef hormone dispute, according to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). USTR also said that it would not delay removing some products from the list. Both actions were to have taken place March 23 and USTR said the new date for the additional duties would be April 23.

"The purpose of the modified trade action announced earlier this year was to encourage a resolution of the longstanding Beef Hormones dispute that would offer a fair outcome for the U.S. beef industry, while also addressing the economic impact of the prior trade action on U.S. interests," according to USTR spokesperson Nefeterius McPherson. "USTR is currently in discussions with the European Commission on a possible interim solution that would provide benefits for U.S. beef producers. These discussions have made progress, although several important issues remain to be resolved. USTR has decided to delay the trade action in order to give this process every possibility of success."

The changes announced on January 15, 2009, made additions to and deletions from the list of the products subject to additional duties, changed the EU member states whose products are subject to the duties, and, for one product, increased the level of the additional duties. Under the decision announced today, most of these changes will be delayed for one month, and will now be effective on April 23, 2009.

However, in order to respect commercial arrangements that have been made in the period since January 15, there will be no delay in the March 23, 2009, effective date of the deletion of products from the list of products subject to additional duties.

On November 6, 2008, USTR published a Federal Register notice seeking public comments on possible modifications to the list of products subject to additional duties. Approximately 600 comments were received by the requested due date of December 8, 2008. An interagency committee of trade experts and economists reviewed the public comments and provided recommendations to the USTR with respect to modifications that would result in a more effective action, while taking account of effects on the U.S. economy, including consumers. The USTR accepted the recommendation and announced the modified trade action on January 15, 2009.

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