The European Union (EU) and the U.S. agreed this week to further discussions on their long-running dispute (since 1988) over U.S. beef products from cattle raised with the use of growth implants. As a result, the U.S. will postpone “Carousel” sanctions for two weeks to allow negotiations to continue. The Carousel sanctions would target different products of EU origin on a rotation basis for increased tariffs.

In a telephone conversation this week, EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk agreed to further talks in order to find a negotiated solution.

In a European Commission release, Ashton said:
"We have agreed today that our senior officials will hold further talks with a view to finding a negotiated solution to the long-running dispute over hormone-treated beef. We are both aware that this is a difficult issue that affects businesses and consumers in both the EU and the U.S. We want to overcome those difficulties, and we believe that a solution is within reach that will benefit both sides.

“The agreement we have reached today means that the imposition of so-called 'Carousel' sanctions on certain EU products will be postponed by a further two weeks to facilitate ongoing negotiations.

“When we met in March in Washington, D.C., we committed ourselves to a renewed effort to working through, and where possible resolving, the bilateral disputes in our trade relationship. This gives us the chance to avoid a crisis that would lead to harmful sanctions as well as more litigation at the World Trade Organization. Together we can find a positive and lasting solution to this issue, and we will continue our close cooperation on other outstanding issues in the future."