CATTLE Council of Australia is concerned of reports that the European Union (EU) high quality grainfed beef quota may be altered, to the detriment of Australia’s grain fed beef exports to Europe.
Cattle Council, as a member of the EU Red Meat Industry Taskforce (Taskforce), has a firm position to maintain status quo access arrangements on the grainfed quota, ensuring no discriminatory quota allocation, which would be in breach of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
The Taskforce has been monitoring Australia’s access under the grainfed beef quota for a number of years and has relayed the industry position to the Australian Government, who will be the port of call once the European Commission have a mandate to formally negotiate with the US and other substantial suppliers – of which Australia is one.
“This quota is highly valuable to our industry and any loss of access would have a significant detrimental effect on Australia’s grainfed exports given the quote represents three quarters of our total EU beef exports worth approximately A$250 million in 2017-18,” Cattle Council president Howard Smith said.
“Australia’s 3500 accredited European Union Cattle Accreditation Scheme (EUCAS) cattle producers are part of a supply chain which has made substantial investment and ongoing commitment to producing cattle that can service the EU grainfed beef market and therefore any detrimental change to accessing the EU market is a very significant concern.”
Since being verified (January 2010) as an eligible supplier under the EU grainfed beef quota, the Australian beef industry has ensured HGP-free cattle have been sourced from EUCAS eligible producers; the cattle have been segregated in the feedlot regime and fed a high-energy diet to ensure these cattle meet the stringent quota specification.
The EU Council could provide the mandate as early as the next EU Council meeting this week (15-16 October), however firm timelines are unclear.
“If the EU and US agree on a country-specific portion in favour of the US, substantial suppliers such as Australia must be consulted and consent to this allocation. The Australian Government is currently awaiting notification of this consultation.,” Mr Smith said.
“The Australia beef industry, via the Taskforce, is working in partnership with the Australian Government to ensure that any change in current arrangements are WTO compliant.”
Media contact: Tom Dawkins (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0409 219 527)