EU Mum On Beef Ban Despite Upcoming Overtures To U.S.

The European Union (EU) says in December it will announce measures to overcome growing friction with the U.S. government over the banning of U.S. products on health and safety grounds. That would coincide with publication by the 15-nation EU of proposals for creating a European Food Safety Agency, long urged by the U.S. as a step essential to avert trade conflicts. EU's defense of the so-called "precautionary principle" is at the heart of disputes over issues such as its ban on U.S. hormone-treated beef and European resistance to genetically modified food and crops. But Pascal Lamy, the EU trade commissioner, is refusing for the moment to say whether a controversial hormone beef ban is consistent with the proposed guidelines. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on imports from the EU for failing to comply with a World Trade Organization ruling that, in the absence of proof that hormones harm health, the ban is illegal.

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