Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Is US beef under a Free Trade Agreement a threat to EU beef production?

A new study analyses likely competitiveness and perspectives of production and trade in terms of a possible tariff liberalisation between the EU and the US

The US and Canada are major beef producers and exporters and have an interest to export beef meat to the EU due to the higher beef price. But the existing import tariff of approximately 60 % as well as sanitary trade restrictions mean limitations of beef imports from both North American countries to the EU.

If the negotiations about the free trade agreement between the US and the EU can be finalised by the end of 2014, these barriers could be at least partially removed.

The study fabricated by Claus Deblitz (Thünen Institute of Farm Economics) and Kevin Dhuyvetter (Kansas State University) analyses the status quo, drivers and development as well as the potential of beef production and trade. The researchers use the data from agri benchmark, a global network which comprises 30 countries worldwide with internationally standardised methods to analyse farms, production systems and their profitability. The focus of the study is on farm level.

Live cattle exports highly unlikely

The study shows that low or non-existent weaner price differentials do not constitute an incentive for North American producers to sell weaners to the EU. Exports of individual breeding cattle from beef breeds are exceptions. “Even in the case of a free trade agreement it is highly unlikely that weaners and backgrounders will ever be shipped from North America to Europe in significant quantities and for non-breeding purposes due to animal welfare issues and expectable public pressure”, says Claus Deblitz, coordinator of the agri benchmark Beef and Sheep Network. Thus, no direct effects on the rearing (cow-calf) sector in European countries are expected. But how will the agreement change the situation in the finishing sector?

Beef finishing on farm costs and prices

The present situation in the beef finishing systems illustrates that there are substantial price and costs differences between US and Canadian farms and EU farms. However, the differences narrowed from 2011 to 2012 due to a large number of conditions, among them the development of exchange rates, livestock and feed costs. Reflecting transport costs as well as the costs for not applying growth hormones and beta-agonists, which are forbidden in the EU, would take the US-costs to a level which is slightly higher than the prices received by most typical EU farms in 2012. But the North American beef has not to compete against these prices due to higher quality. At the same time, US-prices remain below EU-beef prices. Thus, US beef producers could improve profitability / reduce present losses with exporting beef to the EU. Consequently there remains an incentive for US beef producers to export beef to the EU without the existence of a tariff. “If the EU starts importing more beef from the US, it will be high quality (marbled) grain beef at competitive prices from cattle which are fed with grain in the last fattening period, which already arrives to a limited extent under specific quota arrangements”, explains Kevin Dhuyvetter. Therefore the authors expect that the increase in volume of American beef exports are limited especially since markets in Asia, North Africa and Middle East have a comparable or higher price level than the European market.

The full study can be downloaded here:
Thünen Institute of Farm Economics, Braunschweig, Germany
Barbara Wildegger
Tel.: +49 (0) 531 596-5108, E-Mail:

Dr. Michael Welling | Thünen-Institut
Further information:

Further reports about: EU beef production Free Trade Agreement US beef agri benchmark

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>