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Brussels refuses to lift ban on US beef



INDEPENDENT (London) May 14

Brussels refuses to lift ban on US beef

EUROPE is bracing itself for an extension of its trade war with America
after the European Commission's decision yesterday to defy a World Trade
Organisation ruling that it must lift a decade-old ban on hormone-treated
US beef.

The decision is expected to provoke retaliation from Washington, which is
expected to announce a figure for trade sanctions against Europe possibly
running to hundreds of millions of dollars. That move is the first step
towards new tariffs against a range of European products, from jam to
mopeds, which could begin in July.

The dispute has provoked new transatlantic political strains just as
efforts were under way to reach a negotiated settlement in the damaging
bust-up over European Union banana imports. The EU argues that the
hormone-treated meat endangers children's health and poses a wider cancer
risk. a view rejected by America.

A preliminary study released by the EU earlier this month argued that six
hormones used to stimulate growth in cattle pose threats of differing
severity and adds that children may be specially at risk.

The results of the EU studies will not be available until the end of the
year. Brussels has offered to negotiate over compensation through other
trade concessions.

A spokesman for the European Commission said yesterday: "The latest
scientific evidence means that we cannot lift the beef ban but we want to
comply with our WTO obligations, we want to talk to the Americans about
compensation and we want open, transparent dialogue with them on the
science."



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