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WTO case over hormones in beef drags on

The trade dispute that Reuters describes as having “stretched World Trade Organization jurisprudence to the limits” stretched even further last month over a block on Canadian and U. S. beef by the European Union.

The EU on Dec. 22 announced yet another request for “consultations” at the WTO with Canada and the U. S., which for years have put up retaliatory trade sanctions against EU products in the dispute. The EU estimates Canada’s retaliatory tariffs as worth C$11.3 million per year.

The EU has banned the use of growth-promoting hormones and the import of meat treated with hormones since the 1980s. Canada and the U. S., claiming there’s no valid scientific basis for the EU ban, first took it to the WTO in 1996.

The EU’s filing Dec. 22 follows an October ruling by a WTO appeal body, which overturned a successful EU challenge of Canadian and U. S. tariffs. That appeal body urged the two sides to launch “Article 21.5” proceedings to resolve whether the EU has removed the WTOinconsistent part of its ban, as the EU claims it did in 2003.

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