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EU complaint against US, Canada sanctions in beef hormone

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WTO to rule on EU complaint against US, Canada sanctions in beef hormone rowDocument Actions 17/02/2005

The World Trade Organisation set up two complaints panels Thursday after the European Union challenged US and Canadian trade sanctions against an EU ban on growth hormone-treated beef, a trade source said.
The EU told the WTO Disputes Settlement Body (DSB) that neither country had removed extra duties on EU products although Brussels had modified its rules on beef imports more than a year ago to comply with a WTO ruling in 1998.
Both countries' actions were "inconsistent" with their obligations to the WTO, the EU added.
It said in its written submission to the DSB that talks with Washington and Ottawa on the issue had "allowed a better understanding" of their positions "but have not led to a satisfactory resolution of this matter".
The requests for separate panels of experts to rule on the disputes with the United States and Canada were accepted automatically under WTO rules, the source said.
"We believe that the EU's claims lack merit, and we are confident that a panel will agree," a US official said.
The WTO ruled in 1999 that Washington and Ottawa could slap higher tariffs on a list of EU products after it condemned the European Union for banning the use of certain growth-promoting hormones -- used by the US and Canada to treat cattle -- without a scientific assessment of the risk.
The EU said Thursday that its ban on imports of growth hormone-treated beef had been updated in a 2003 law following a full scientific assessment.
That study found that consumption of a certain type of hormone was harmful to human health, it added.
The evidence on five other hormones, such as testosterone, was insufficient, but warranted a provisional ban on marketing meat containing those substances because of the uncertainty, according to the EU.
But the US and Canada have rejected or raised doubts about the validity of the proof presented by Brussels to back up its claim.
Australia, China, Mexico and Taiwan asked to be third parties in the dispute.
I get a kick out of this. How in the heck can you force a country to buy a product that they do not want, especially if they have studies "proving" their point. If we could certify some beef hormone free, they would take it, and if they didn't, then take them to court. It is like a car salesman threatening me because I want a black car, but he insists a blue one is good enough. The Europeans don't want GMOs, that is why NA does not sell much canola to them anymore. THose europeans are picky about their food, more so than us, but personally I perfer no growth hormones in the beef I eat as well.

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