WTO Orders US to Allow Imports of Argentine Beef


Argentina said it will resume beef sales to the US before Dec. 31, ending a 14-year ban, following a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling in its favor.

The WTO Dispute Settlement Body in Geneva on Aug. 31 endorsed a July 24 panel ruling siding with Buenos Aires in its dispute with the US over beef shipment restrictions following an outbreak of bovine foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the South American country in 2001. In June, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced it would lift its 14-year ban on beef imports from northern Argentina beginning Sept. 28.

The WTO ruling means the WTO ruling “is now final and cannot be appealed,” the Argentina Foreign Ministry said in a statement released Sept. 1 in Buenos Aires. Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said the move will allow Argentina to resume fresh, chilled or frozen beef sales to the US “before year’s end.”

Argentina’s Agriculture Minister Carlos Casamiquela, at a joint news conference with Timerman, said Argentina recovered its international status as a country free from foot-and-mouth disease in 2007. “In spite of this, the US continued to refrain from buying Argentine beef, which has led to this dispute at the WTO,” he said.

Until the US ban, the US was importing between 18,000 and 20,000 metric tons of Argentine beef a year, Casamiquela said.

US officials said the US market will open up to Argentine beef, but Washington will make sure those shipments are made “under conditions that meet the high level of protection of the United States, in particular to ensure that foot-and-mouth disease will not be introduced” from Argentina. “The adoption of the panel report provides a renewed opportunity for Argentina and the United States to work together,” a US delegation in Geneva said.




Source:  DTN's Washington Insider



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