Friday, May 15, 2009

More work to be done on U.S./EU beef trade

On Wednesday, the U.S. signed an agreement with the European Union to increase the amount of high-quality beef exports from cattle that are free of growth-promoting hormones. The new protocol will allow an extra 20,000 metric tons of beef, duty-free, and increase to 45,000 metric tons after three years.

While everyone recognizes the benefits of increased trade opportunities, we must also acknowledge that the best trade policies are ones based on sound science – not political science.

For almost 20 years, the EU has imposed trade barriers on U.S. beef citing that beef from cattle treated with growth hormones is a health hazard, regardless of the fact that the Food and Drug Administration, through scientific testing, has deemed these hormones to be safe.

While I appreciate the work that has been done in enhancing current beef trade, I hope these actions are indications of forthcoming progress that will ultimately result in scientifically based trade parameters.

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