American ranchers and cattle producers get exclusive access to a large portion of Europe's tariff rate quota for beef under a deal signed Friday at the White House.

The United States Trade Representative Office expects beef exports to the EU to grow from $150 million to $420 million once the agreement, originally announced in June, is fully implemented.

“Opening markets for our farmers is about more than just an industry, it's about a way of life,” President Donald Trump said Friday at the White House. “Generations of hard work, passion, and dedication have gone into making America the largest producer of high-quality beef anywhere in the world by far.”

Trump added this agreement will give producers the level playing field they need.

The new agreement establishes a duty-free tariff rate quota (TRQ) and reserves about 80% of it exclusively for the U.S. Starting out, beef producers will have an initial TRQ of 18,500 metric tons annually, which is valued at $220 million. Over the next seven years, that number is expected to reach 35,000 metric tons annually at a value of $420 million.

The current agreement on duty-free beef exports to the EU was only 13,000 metric tons annually, or a value of $150 million.

“With this new exclusive country-specific quota, American ranchers have a guaranteed market share in Europe,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said.

Lighthizer signed the agreement with EU officials including Jani Raappana of Finland and Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis of the Delegation of the EU.

Raappana underscored that the agreement was conducted in good spirits.

“It’s a great example of how the multilateral trading system can work for settling trade disputes,” Raappana noted.

Beef industry leaders welcomed the signing of the agreement.

“For years it’s been difficult for us to get access to the EU because of some non-tariff and restrictive trade tariff practices,” National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston said at the event. “We are so excited that our European families ... are going to be able to enjoy that high quality beef.”

President and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation Dan Halstrom and President and CEO of the North American Meat Institute, Julia Potts also thanked the administration for their work to make the expansion happen.

“It is critical to continue ongoing trade negotiations with China, to approve the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and to further talks with Japan,” Potts said in a statement.

In 2016, the three organizations requested Lighthizer take tariff action under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to enforce the World Trade Organization dispute finding in favor of the United States against the EU’s ban on the use of hormones in cattle production.

Negotiations resulted in a new agreement, which was approved by the European Council on July 15. The agreement is expected to go into effect this fall following the European Parliament’s approval.

“We look forward to the European Union approving this agreement expeditiously,” Lighthizer said.

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