WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump celebrated a new agreement Friday that is projected to increase beef exports to the European Union by more than $270 million a year once it is fully in place.
Trump portrayed the agreement as standing up for farmers and ranchers.
Producers have been hurt by retaliatory tariffs that China imposed after Trump levied 25% tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese products.
The signing of the agreement comes a day after Trump increased pressure on China to reach a trade deal by saying he will impose 10% tariffs Sept. 1 on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports he hasn’t already taxed.
The European Commission announced in June that it had reached an agreement with the U.S. to allow more hormone-free U.S. beef into the European market. The trade deal lets the U.S. export 35,000 tons of hormone-free beef to the EU per year.
The EU continues to impose bans and restrictions on meat produced using hormones.
Bloomberg reported that the Trump administration in June secured more access to the EU’s beef market after the bloc persuaded Australia, Argentina and Uruguay to gradually cede chunks of the import quota. U.S. ranchers will be entitled to almost 80% of the annual EU quota on hormone-free beef by the seventh year of the agreement, with an initial allocation of about 40%, European officials said in June.
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., a cattle rancher and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, praised the agreement.
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“Nebraskans produce some of the most high-quality and delicious beef there is, and this deal marks another opportunity for our families, communities, and businesses,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to work with this administration on opening more markets for our state’s hardworking ag producers.”
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts also praised the deal in a statement, saying it “presents a major growth opportunity for our state.’’
Trump said from the White House before signing the pact: “Opening markets for our farmers is about more than just an industry. It’s about a way of life.”
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he hoped that the EU would approve the agreement quickly.
The EU has been concerned about the prospect that Trump will slap tariffs on foreign-made cars and parts.
In May, Trump said imports of foreign cars and parts were harming the American auto industry and threatening national security, but he delayed for six months any decision on applying tariffs as a remedy.
Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday that “auto tariffs are never off the table.”
“The EU has tremendous barriers to us, but we just broke the first barrier,” he said. “And maybe we broke it because of the fact that if I don’t get what we want, I put on auto tariffs. Because it’s all about the automobile, and it’s all about the tariffs.”
Earlier, he joked to the EU trade delegation that he was poised to impose crippling tariffs on German cars, including Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs. “I’m only kidding,” he quickly added.
This report includes material from Bloomberg.