Sequence contains no elements U.S. Beef Trade in Europe and Middle East - Beef USA


The U.S. beef industry has a longstanding history of providing the E.U. with high quality U.S. beef and we look forward to improving that relationship so that we can provide more U.S. beef to our E.U. customers at a competitive price. According to USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation, European consumers purchased approximately $236 million of U.S. beef in 2012, making the E.U. one of our top ten export markets for beef. Also in 2012, the U.S. and E.U. progressed to Phase II of the 2009 memorandum of understanding. This allows the U.S. to compete for a quota of 45,000 metric tons of duty free beef (from non-hormone treated cattle) exports. This is a welcome increase from the 20,000 metric ton quota in previous years, but it is still a barrier to full market access. Europe presents a wealth of opportunity for U.S. beef exports, but there are several non-science based trade barriers erected by the E.U. that prevent us from providing our European consumers with U.S. beef.



  • In 2012, European consumers purchased 25,000 metric tons of U.S. beef at a cost of nearly $236,000,000.
  • Only U.S. beef from cattle raised under control measures specified in USDA’s NHTC Program is eligible for export to the EU. The program was initiated in 1989 when the United States and the EU agreed to control measures to facilitate the trade of non-hormone treated bovine meat, including veal.
    • The U.S. - EU Beef Hormone Dispute
  • The U.S. and E.U. have been entangled in a WTO dispute since the 1980’s over the E.U.’s ban on growth promotants in cattle and their subsequent ban on imports of beef from cattle that use growth promotants. This dispute resulted in 100% tariffs on certain E.U. goods to the United States in retaliation for the ban on U.S. beef.
  • On May 13, 2009, following a series of negotiations, the United States and the EU signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that lifts tariffs on E.U. goods while allowing U.S. beef imports under strict guidelines and quotas. Currently in Phase II of the MOU, the U.S. is allowed to compete for a quota of 45,000 metric tons of non-hormone treated beef and in exchange the U.S. reduced the increased tariffs to zero.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP)

  • According to USTR, T-TIP will be an ambitious, comprehensive, and high-standard trade and investment agreement that offers significant benefits in terms of promoting U.S. international competitiveness, jobs, and growth.
  • According to USTR, T-TIP will further open EU markets, increasing the $458 billion in goods and private services the United States exported in 2012 to the EU, our largest export market. 
  • According to USTR, T-TIP will aim to eliminate all tariffs on trade.
  • USTR also says that T-TIP will tackle costly “behind the border” non-tariff barriers that impede the flow of goods, including agricultural goods. 
  • NCBA supports a T-TIP agreement that eliminates all tariffs and quotas and bases all non-tariff matters on internationally-recognized sound scientific standards.


  • In 2012, Russia was the sixth largest export market for U.S. beef at $307,000,000.
  • In 2012 Russia experienced a 20 percent increase in U.S. beef sales since 2011.
  • On August 22, 2012 Russia became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). As part of the accession agreement with the United States, Russia established an import quota of 60,000 metric tons for frozen U.S. beef and an unlimited allotment of high quality beef at a 15% tariff.
  • At the same time, Russian demand for U.S. live cattle is through the roof. According to USDA, over 89,000 head of U.S. live cattle were sold to Russia in 2012.
  • The demand for America’s superior genetics and technology has created a tremendous opportunity for U.S. cattle families who are willing to expand into this niche market.
  • In December 2012, Congress voted to grant permanent normal trade relationship status to Russia. Additionally, Congress also passed human rights legislation attached to the trade vote specifically targeting Russian diplomats.
  • Russia retaliated to the human rights legislation by suspending US adoptions of Russian children.
  • Furthermore, Russia recently put in place a zero tolerance measure for the presence of the beta agonist ractopamine. However, the Russian government says these are separate actions.
  • Russia now requires all meat from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil to be accompanied with a “ractopamine-free” certification.
  • As of February 11, the market is closed to frozen U.S. beef and pork.
  • USTR and USDA have continued to engage with Russian leaders to find a reasonable, science-based resolution to this action.

NCBA Statement on Russia: “We are disappointed that Russia failed to base their decision on international scientific standards, like the guidelines established by the codex alimentarius.  This is an unfortunate setback for US beef producers and our Russian customers who purchased more than $300 million of US beef in 2012.”

Middle East

  • In 2012, consumers in the Middle East consumed 152,000 metric tons of U.S. beef at a total of $331,000,000 in sales, a 7% decrease from 2011.
  • In 2012, consumers in Egypt purchased nearly $217,000,000 in U.S. beef, an 8% decrease from 2011.
  • In 2012, consumers in United Arab Emirates purchased $49,000,000 in U.S. beef, a 27% increase from 2011.
  • In 2012, consumers in Saudi Arabia purchased nearly $17,000,000 in U.S. beef, a 47% decrease from 2011.
  • Live cattle exports to the Middle East have increased in recent years. Turkey and Egypt are the largest importers, and Iraq recently approved its import requirements which could be a good market for U.S. live cattle and genetics exports.


NCBA Contact

Kent Bacus
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