‘Beefing’ Up Transatlantic Ties: EU-US Beef Deal Amidst Tortuous Trade Negotiations

Written by | Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

The European Union will open its market to more US beef exports in line with a new agreement, US President Donald Trump has announced. Stressing that “we love our farmers and ranchers,” Trump also said during the announcement at the White House on Friday (2 August) that the deal would lower trade barriers to Europe. The US farmers “want a level playing field,” the president said, adding that US beef exports have recently increased 31 percent.


EU and US officials have been laying the groundwork for talks on a trade agreement, but the negotiations had been hindered by an impasse over agriculture. Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU ambassador to the US, hailed the agreement as a “great example of how the multilateral trading system can work”. This deal was reached to allow the United States a guaranteed share of a 45,000-tonne European quota for hormone-free beef, EU sources said in June. Thus, as Lambrinidis explains, “with this agreement, the EU reaffirms its commitment to a positive trans-Atlantic trade agenda and a new phase in US-EU relations.”


But, overall, while the agreement on beef may ease tensions between the two sides, which are each other’s largest trading partners, the trade talks have so far produced only mixed results. There are still many outstanding issues also in other areas of US-EU trade, including import duties on industrial goods that Europe wants removed, as well as the threat of tariffs on cars made in Europe imported to the US. Though pursuing a number of new trade deals with Europe, China and other major economic powers, these efforts by the Republican president’s administration are still part of Trump’s “America First” agenda.

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