U.S. farmers excited with Trump’s beef deal

In the midst of a volatile week on its trade relations with China, the U.S. on Friday afternoon signed a welcome trade agreement with the European Union which will boost U.S. beef exports.

“This is a tremendous victory for American farmers, ranchers, and, of course, European consumers because American beef is considered the best in the world,” U.S. President Donald Trump said at the signing on Friday, which took place in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

“The agreement we sign today will lower trade barriers in Europe and expand access for American farmers and ranchers. In year one, duty-free American beef exports to the EU will increase by 46 percent. Over seven years, they will increase by another 90 percent. In total, the duty-free exports will rise from $150 million to $420 million, an increase of over 180 percent.”

“My administration is standing up for our farmers and ranchers like never before. We’re protecting our farmers. We’re doing it in many ways, including with China. You may have read a little bit about China lately,” the president said.

“Agricultural products and exports have increased by more than $10 billion, and beef exports have increased by more than 31 percent. In another major win, we fully opened the Japanese market to U.S. beef. We also opened markets in Tunisia, Morocco, and Australia.”

Turning to the President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Jennifer Houston, Mr Trump asked: “I think you’re pretty happy about all of that, right? You’ve never seen anything like that happen before, have you? Huh?

Houston responded: “We have not.”

The president responded: “Not with your other presidents, you haven’t.”

The signatories to the agreement inked on Friday were Stavros Lambrinidis, EU Ambassador to the United States and Jani Raappana, Deputy Head of Mission, for the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU, and Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative.

The European Union comprises Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.