White House Statement on Imports From the European Economic Community


December 24, 1987


The President today signed a proclamation imposing and temporarily suspending duties on approximately $100 million worth of exports from the European Community (EC) to the United States. This implements his November 23 decision to retaliate against an EC unfair trade practice, but to suspend the sanctions for as long as it does not restrict U.S. meat exports to Europe. The action follows careful analysis of comments received in public hearings.


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. This action would bar $100 million in U.S. meat sales to the EC. The ban was announced as a health measure; however, 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 EC recently voted to allow meat imports to continue for an additional year; therefore, the President has suspended today's sanctions provided U.S. meat exports to Europe continue without interruption. He has instructed the U.S. Trade Representative to monitor the situation. If U.S. meat exports to the Community are found to be interrupted during this period, the Trade Representative is authorized to reimpose the sanctions. The President hopes that a permanent solution can be found to this problem based on scientific evidence over the next year.


This action is being taken under authority granted to the President in section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. This administration has been more aggressive in using this enforcement tool against unfair trade practices than any previous administration. Today's actions are intended to maintain unimpeded access for American producers in a fair, competitive marketplace, without improper interference from foreign governments. The President intends to continue to pursue aggressive enforcement of these laws and, when necessary, take retaliatory measures equal in severity to those unfair trade practices aimed at American exporters.