US meats in Europe. Bartering with German cars


On 28.11.19, the European Parliament gave the green light to the 2.8.19 agreement between the EU and the United States ‘to allocate a share of the tariff quota for importsof high-quality beef.’ (1)

Beef with hormones, 20 years of struggle

In 1989, the European ban on the use of six growth hormones in cattle breeding initiated a historic battle, the so-called Beef Hormone Dispute. Indeed, the U.S. and Canada sued the then European Economic Community at theWorld Trade Organization (WTO). Doping meat tycoons challenged the scientific soundness of precautionary measures taken in Europe.

In 1997, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body ruled in favor of their theorem. The Appellate Body, in 1998, upheld the EC’s conviction. And an arbitrator appointed by the Dispute Settlement Body, in 1999, authorized the U.S. and Canada to impose additional duties on European imports, in retaliation, worth US$ 116.8 million/year.

In 2003 , the European Community reformed the regulations, consolidating the ban on the use of one of the six hormones (17-beta estradiol). After gathering scientific evidence of its permanence in animal tissues (and the resulting impact on consumer health). Therefore, in 2004 he turned to the WTO, demanding the removal of sanctions.

In 2008, the WTO Appellate Body issued a Solomonic pronouncement. Granting Europe the right to ban meat with hormone residues but at the same time, the U.S. and Canada the right to maintain retaliatory tariffs. The European Community activated a further complaint, following arbitrary variations on the goods subject to the duties.

Beef, 10 years of negotiations between the U.S. and Europe

In 2009, the European Commission and the United States concluded an initial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). By way of an ‘interim solution’ to the Beef Hormone Dispute. Under this understanding, Europe introduced a special tariff quota. Authorizing the duty-free import of 45,000 tons/year of hormone-free beef. Coming from qualified suppliers in WTO member states.

In 2019-after three years of informal negotiations and an explicit mandate from the Agriculture Council (i.e., the governments of the member states)-the European Commission agreed with the U.S. government on a new allocation of the above tariff quota. The share available to the United States increases from 30 percent to 80 percent. 35,000 tons of beef, of the 45,000 allowed to be imported into the EU on subsidized terms, will come from the US. At the expense of other suppliers (Australia, Uruguay and Argentina).

US beef in EU, the agreement

The agreement signed on 2.8.19 by the EU ambassador to the U.S. with U.S. Special Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has an estimated value of US$ 270 million/year. ‘When the understanding is fully implemented, U.S. farmers will have a guaranteed share of the market in Europe.’

A share of the European meat market was thus secured in view of ‘the easing of trade tensions between the EU and the United States, agreed in the joint US-EU statement of July 25, 2018.’ (2)
But the 30-year war on doped meat, as will be seen, has nothing to do with it at all.

The barter between meats, metals, cars and Spanish olives

The European Parliament-in the ‘recitals‘ of its resolution 28.11.19, which approved the agreement-makes clear how the concession on meat is offered to mitigate Atlantic tensions on other sectors, such as:

– U.S. tariff increase on steel and aluminum imports (which occurred in March 2018),

– U.S. threat to levy additional duties on motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts arriving from the EU,

– Imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Spanish olives by the United States, (3)

– retaliatory duties on aeronautics, agri-food products and various others. Applied by the United States on 18.10.19 as a result of the WTO ruling on the Airbus case.

U.S. meat in Europe, all right?

The Strasbourg Assembly notes that ‘The overall EU beef market access quota should not be increased.’ (4) A statement that would put Judas Iscariot to shame, remembering that a quota twice the size – 90,000 tons of beef duty-freewas opened on 6/28/19 in favor of beef from Mercosur countries.

MEPs add ‘that the agreement should not affect the technical characteristics of the quota, (…) including the quality and traceability of the products, in order to ensure the highest possible level of protection for EU consumers’. They use the conditional without placing any other condition outside the ‘EU ban on imports of beef from animals treated with certain growth hormones’‘. (5)

What meats on our tables?

U.S. meats-as veterinarians and industry experts know-are instead derived from supply chains and production systems subject to rules light years away from those that apply in the EU. Cloning of animals is conducted without traceability or consumer information. Livestock are routinely treated with antibiotics and veterinary drugs that have been banned or otherwise severely restricted in Europe for decades. The feeds are based on GMO soybeans grown with extensive use of pesticides and may also contain animal meal.

The issue is not political but food safety and animal welfare. #Buycott! American meats, GMO soy and palm oil, is our humble petition, which we urge everyone to sign by signing the petition at Without claiming to change the world but to be able to make informed consumer choices. (6) Therefore, we want to know:

The origin of the meats. Even in restaurants, as has been the case in France since 2002,

The use of GMO feed. So that everyone can choose with reason and affirm #iovotocolportfolio!

Dario Dongo


(1) European Parliament non-legislative resolution of November 28, 2019 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union to allocate to the United States a share of the tariff-rate quota for high-quality beef under the Revised Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Importation of Beef from Animals Not Treated with Certain Growth-Promoting Hormones and Increased Duties Applied by the United States to Certain Products of the European Union (2014) (10681/2019 – C9-0107/2019 – 2019/0142M(NLE))

(2) Idem c.s., recital D

(3) In fact, on 17.5.19, the EU filed a complaint with the WTO on ‘Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties on Ripe Olives from Spain

(4) See resolution referred to in footnote 1, item 3.

(5) Idem c.s.

(6) Julia Layton & Cristen Conger (2007). How do I know if I’m eating cloned meat?,