Banana War slips into Beef War : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

The trade war between the US and UK/Europe has ratcheted up another notch. If it continues other goods and commodities inevitably will be drawn in; the next move is for the US to penalize another set of UK/European imports. The US has already doubled the tariffs on some German electronic appliances and certain foods, for instance, until such time as the banana issue is completely resolved. Such activities taken to extremes could easily precipitate a recession well before a stock market decline or Y2K. Again, preparation against ANY "bump in the road" is prudent.

From the BBC:

Thursday, April 29, 1999, Published at 06:59 GMT 07:59 UK

EU bans US beef

First beef threatens trade relations

The United States and the European Union are heading for another trade row, this time over beef.

The European Union has announced it will be ban all beef imports from the United States.

Beef from cattle fed on hormones has been banned by the European Union since 1988 on the grounds that it is not safe.

But now the EU says it cannot be sure that beef certified as hormone-free by US inspectors does not contain the banned substances - so it will ban all beef from 15 June.

The move came as members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) met in Geneva to consider a request by the United States to overturn the ban entirely.

The United States and Canada have already secured a ruling from the World Trade Organisation that the original ban on hormone-fed beef is illegal under international trade law. It says that there is no scientific basis for the ban.

The EU has until 13 May to comply with that ruling. However, the US government had promised the Europeans not to export any hormone-treated beef before this deadline.

"We are disappointed to see that once again the EU is failing to meet its WTO obligations," US trade ambassador Rita Hayes told the meeting.

The United States and Canada have threatened to introduce sanctions against EU products if no agreement is reached.


EU Trade Commissioner Leon Brittan said that he was 'anxious to engage in urgent discussions to resolve this issue promptly'.

Recent talks have centred around how North American beef entering the EU should be labelled in order to ensure consumers have enough information to make an informed choice.

Hormones are widely used in US agriculture, but the EU says it is still studying the scientific evidence on their safety.

EU Ambassador Roderick Abbott told the meeting that the Europeans had wasted no time in beginning a risk analysis, but conceded the work might not be complete by the May deadline.

Former Tory trade minister Lord Young warned the Institute of Directors on Wednesday that a 'crisis' was brewing the US-EU trade relations.

"We might see this as a health risk but Washington will see this as a pure protection. We are turning Europe into Fortess Europe for Food," he said.

The total amount of US beef sold in Europe is only $20m - but any questioning of its safety is seen as a threat to the massive US agricultural export sector.

Trade wars escalate

The trade wars between the United States and Europe have been escalating.

Last month the US introduced sanctions against a range of European products in order to force the EU to agree to import more 'dollar bananas' from Central America.

There are also flashpoints over aircraft noise, with the EU threatening to ban from European skies US aircraft engines fitted with hush-kits.

Although the EU and the United States are each other's biggest trading partners, the growing imbalance in world trade is leading to tensions.

The US is running a huge trade deficit with the rest of the world, and has said that it cannot continue to bear all the costs of the world's economic slowdown.

-- Old Git (, April 29, 1999


I find it ironic that we're quibbling with the EU about bananas and other minor things. Yet we bend over backwards to give Communist China everything they want and more.

I mean, Europe is a hell of a lot closer ideologically to the US than China.

Isn't it?


Jolly is getting more paranoid by the minute.

-- Jollyprez (, April 29, 1999.

Not sure of the exact stats, but if you were to compare the number of prospective consumers in China with those in the EU. . .

-- Old Git (, April 29, 1999.

Jolly, as OG pointed out, it has to do with the size of the market and relative market share available.

OG: This is one that I HOPE the US LOSES, simply because we need to start growing our beef WITHOUT the HGH and antibiotics. It has been shown, in a number of studies that there is a corelation between the fast food eating habbits and change in the size of children over the last 20 years. There is another corelation between lower and upper income families, fast food habits and child size. And another between early menstruation onset and fast food consumption. ALL of the corelations APPEAR to be due to the hormone contents of the beef used by the fast food chains.

I will admit that I am one of the first scoffers at "studies" that "show 'X'" where 'X' is something that the senior yuppie scum wants done or banned but these have been around long enough, and repeated enough, that I'm pretty sure the variables have been properly controlled for, variable control being my major problem in ANY study that shows 'X'.

Chuck, who loves to set up studies and experiments and understands the meaning of variable control analysis.

-- chuck, a Night Driver (, April 29, 1999.

The whole damn thing is crazy. Costa Rica exports most of their cattle to the US and believe me CR has lots of cattle. MCDonalds used to be their biggest customer several years ago. Don't know if still true or not. Also Australia supplies the french fries for most of McDonalds. If we would keep our stuff at home and let them keep their stuff at home......! I wonder what it would be like to be an isolated nation again? Sometimes I think the problems with the y2k thing is that they WILL get it fixed. I know, I know.........I am not being realistic.

Got Carrier pigeons??

-- Taz (Tassie, April 29, 1999.

What really gets me is that we are in with them in this Kosovo conflict. Seems like we would all want to keep each other happy at this time, while we are fighting this war. If the US keeps this up, the European members of NATO could possibly pull out, and leave us alone fighting this thing. (Are they really contributing that much anyway?) Not that I agree with what is going on, just a point I wanted to make. Still early, as I haven't had much coffee yet.

-- (cannot-say@this.time), April 29, 1999.

Our secy of Agriculture under Reagan (forget his name, sorry) was talking to the German govt. about this issue. The Germans claimed that 3ppm of hormones was unsafe. He asked if the Germans were going to outlaw cabbage. When they said no, he handed them an analysis that showed natural cabbage has hundreds of times the level of hormones they were calling unsafe. LOL.

We need to remember that plants often use the same hormones as animals - focusing too closely on the meat issue causes us to become myopic with regards to the big picture. Look at an analysis of wild yams re hormones if you want a real surprise. If hormones worry you, I guarentee you will never be in the same room with a yam again.

-- Paul Davis (, April 29, 1999.

Interesting article

-- marsh (, April 29, 1999.


Specifically WHICH hormones are you referring to?? The problem is primarily HGH, in the European objections.


-- chuck, a Night Driver (, April 29, 1999.

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