Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on United States Trade Sanctions Against the European Economic Community

 

November 23, 1987

 

The President has taken the first steps to ensure continued market access for approximately $100 million in U.S. meat product sales to the European Community (EC). He has instructed the U.S. Trade Representative to hold public hearings on products for inclusion in a retaliatory action against the EC.

 

In December 1985 the EC decided to ban the sale or import of meat produced from animals treated with growth hormones, effective January 1, 1988. Recently, however, the EC Council of Agriculture Ministers voted to allow meat imports to continue for an additional year.

 

To ensure that U.S. access to the Community does, in fact, remain unimpeded, the President will raise tariffs on about $100 million of EC exports to the United States effective soon after January 1, 1988, but will then immediately suspend the tariff increases so long as U.S. meat exports to the European Community continue uninterrupted.

 

The President is optimistic that the EC will permit dispute settlement to proceed in the interim in order to reach a permanent agreement based on scientific evidence. The EC contends that its ban is motivated by health concerns, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a prestigious panel of international scientific experts have concluded that use of such hormones poses no health hazards.

 

The President's action illustrates how his discretionary, flexible authority under section 301 of our unfair trade laws protects American interests. Congress may wish to review this and other effective uses of section 301 before considering any changes in the law that would attempt to force the President to retaliate at times when it would be counterproductive.