WTO Issues Ruling on Hormone Beef Ban

U.S. and EU welcome the decision.

Published on: Oct 17, 2008

On Thursday the World Trade Organization reversed the decision of a WTO panel regarding the European Union banning hormone-treated beef from the United States and Canada. The EU will be allowed to ban hormone-treated beef from the two countries, but they in turn will have the right to impose trade sanctions in retaliation.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association made an announcement expressing their pleasure with ruling handed down by the WTO.

"This report validates the additional duties the United States imposes on certain EU products in order to balance the trade disparity caused by the EU ban on hormone-treated beef," says NCBA President Andy Groseta. "The ban, which has been in place for more than 20 years, is scientifically unjustified and fails to satisfy the requirements of the WTO agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures."

The EU claims that amendments made to the ban in 2003 bring them into compliance with WTO trade requirements. However, the ban continues to prohibit beef treated with hormones, pending the availability of further scientific evidence.

Groseta says despite the unscientific trade restriction the EU will be a key market for U.S. beef. Although they were a net exporter of beef earlier in this decade, the EU has quickly emerged as one of the world's largest net beef importers. U.S. beef exports to the EU this year are projected to exceed $100 million.