Date of this Version
Cornhusker Economics, June 16 1999, agecon.unl.edu/cornhuskereconomics
Serious threats to continuation of good trade relations between the U.S. and the European Union (EU) have arisen recently affecting both plant and animal products. The ostensible justification for European import bans on U.S. beef is based largely on the use of hormones and growth stimulants by U.S. cattle producers, a practice that is not permitted in Europe. Threats to the export of grain and oil seed products as well as the seeds themselves are related to European reluctance to introduce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the food supply. A cynical view of the existence of trade barriers is that they have been erected largely as a means of insulating European farmers from world competition. A more complete examination of the issues at stake, however, reveals a more complex set of differences and problems.