The talks between Brussels and Washintgon on hormone-free meat are not part of the discussions initiated between the two sides at the end of July, but the Twenty-eight have stressed that finding a solution to this issue would be "an important step" to improve the commercial relationship.
The objective will be to put an end to a long dispute between the EU and the US within the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, the Council has stressed that the final outcome of the negotiations "will not affect in any way the European ban on beef treated with hormones." "The prohibition remains," he underlined.
Brussels and Washington have been looking for possible solutions to this question for two years since the previous US administration asked to review the 2014 agreement, according to which the EU offers a quota of 45,000 tons for the importation of this type of meat. As established by WTO rules, the quota is also open to exporters from other countries.
The European Commission is not authorized to negotiate an increase of this quota, but it can debate a specific allocation for the United States within the global quota. If this were the case, Brussels would have to initiate talks with other supplier countries to ensure that the allocation for the US complies with WTO rules.
"It is clear that any solution must respect the high quality of EU food and safety standards.As other Member States, we are proud of the high quality of our products and the work of our agricultural sector," stressed Margarete Schrambök , the Minister of Digital and Economic Affairs of Austria, who until the end of the year holds the rotating presidency of the EU.