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European Union – Beef and Bison Meat Hilton Quota – 2009/09

[Beef and bison meat | Export certificates | Veterinary certificates | Requirements under the
new 2009 tariff quota]

This document is intended for information purposes only to provide a basic
understanding of the Hilton Quota and other documentation relevant to
beef/bison exporters.

Beef, bison (also pork and horse meat) imported into the European Union for
human consumption must come from slaughterhouses, cutting plants and
cold stores approved by the EU.

Beef produced with the aid of growth-promoting hormones may not be sold in
the EU. Hormone-free beef from Canada and must be produced under a
hormone-free protocol administered by the CFIA.

Alberta producers face additional costs to produce for the European market.
These include higher feed costs and additional tagging overseen by a
veterinarian. There is also additional paperwork required.

Beef and bison meat
(includes fresh and frozen bison meat)

European Commission Regulation (EC) No 936/97 of 27 May 1997 covers the
administration of tariff quotas for high-quality fresh, chilled and frozen beef
and frozen buffalo meat.

High quality beef is defined as elected cuts of fresh, chilled or frozen beef
obtained from bovine animals which do not have more than four permanent
incisor teeth, the carcases of which have a dressed weight of not more than
327 kilograms (720 pounds), a compact appearance with a good eye of meat
of light and uniform colour, and adequate but not excessive fat cover.

In-quota tariffs are considerably lower than out-of-quota rates, in quota tariff is
currently set at 20 percent (ad valorem duty). EU's beef tariffs outside of the
quota range from 176,8 €/100 kg/net for bone-in carcasses to 303,4 €/100
kg/net in addition to the ad valorem duty.

Canada and the United States share a quota of 11,500 tonnes product weight
for meat covered by CN codes 0201, 0202, 0206 10 95 and 0206 29 91 and
meeting the following definition:
'Carcasses or any cuts obtained from bovine animals not over 30 months of
age which have been fed for 100 days or more on nutritionally balanced, high-
energy-content rations containing not less than 70% grain and comprising at
least 20 pounds total feed per day. Beef graded "choice" or "prime" according
to USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) standards automatically
meets the above definition. Meat graded A 2, A 3 or A 4 according to the
standards of the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture automatically meets the
above definition`.

Based on the quota year, only one-twelfth of the quota is available in each
month, plus any unused portions from previous months.

An update of the CN (Tariff Schedule) is published annually by October 31 to
enter into force on January 1 of the following year. Commission Regulation
1549/2006 (Official Journal L 301 - October 31, 2006) is the most recent

Information on tariff rate quotas begins on page 835. Over quota duties are
on page 33 - ranging from 12,8 + 176,8 €/100 kg/net for bone-in carcasses to
12,8 + 303,4 €/100 kg/net for boneless beef.
(July 11, 2008).
Note that this document is not recommended for printing due to its size.

Most out-of-quota beef suppliers are qualified least cost producers, which
could be either a function of efficiency or currency movements.

Note: In May 2009, the European Union and the US reached a provisional
agreement to settle a long-running trade dispute over hormone-treated beef.
Under terms of the agreement, the EU will maintain its 21-year ban on
imports of US and Canadian beef treated with growth-enhancing hormones.
But it will increase the amount of hormone-free beef that can be imported
from those countries over the next four years.

The provisional agreement came ahead of a deadline, after which the US had
threatened to impose punitive tariffs on a range of EU goods – from French
Roquefort cheese to Italian mineral water.

US and Canadian producers are currently permitted to export 11,500 tonnes
of hormone-free beef to the EU without paying duties. The provisional
agreement will allow for an additional 20,000 tonnes during the first three
years, according to the commission, and then an additional 45,000 tonnes in
the fourth year. After that period, the two sides will review the agreement.
Source: Financial Times and Farm, May 2009.
Export certificates

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has published a Meat Hygiene
Manual of Procedures. Chapter 11 is focused on Export - Chapter 11
provides information regarding veterinary, sanitary, packing, marking,
labelling and certification requirements of most countries importing meat
products from Canada. See 11.7 Special requirements by country - European

See: Canada's Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures - Chapter 11 - European Union
< >
(September 8, 2009).

Veterinary certificates

Because the EU-27 has at least twenty official languages, the language used
on the certificate is important. According to the general principles for
veterinary certification (Council Directive 2002/99/EC), certificates must be in
the official language(s) of the member state of destination, as well as those of
the member state where the border inspection is carried out.

For general guidance on EU import and transit rules for live animals and
animal products from third countries, see:
(July 11, 2008).

Requirements under the new tariff quota referred to in Article 1(1): EC
No 620/2009

1. Beef cuts are obtained from carcasses of heifers and steers less than 30
   months of age which have only been fed a diet, for at least the last 100
   days before slaughter, containing not less than 62% of concentrates
   and/or feed grain co-products on a dietary dry matter basis that meet or
   exceed a metabolisable energy content greater than 12.26 mega joules
   per one kilogram of dry matter;
2. Heifers and steers that are fed the diet described in point 1 shall be fed,
   on average, no less than 1.4 % of live body weight per day on a dry matter
3. Carcass from which beef cuts are derived is evaluated by an evaluator
   employed by the national government who bases the evaluation, and a
   resulting classification of the carcass, on a method approved by the
   national government.

    The national government evaluation method, and its classifications, must
    evaluate expected carcass quality using a combination of carcass maturity
    and palatability traits of the beef cuts. Such an evaluation method of the
    carcass shall include, but not be limited to, an evaluation of the maturity
    characteristics of color and texture of the longissimus dorsi muscle and
    bone and cartilage ossification, as well as an evaluation of expected
    palatability traits, including a combination of the discrete specifications of
    intramuscular fat and firmness of the longissimus dorsi muscle;
4. The cuts shall be labeled in accordance with Article 13 of Regulation (EC)
   No 1760/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council (1);
5. ‘High Quality Beef’ may be added to the information on the label.

See also:
COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 620/2009 - 13 July 2009, providing for the
administration of an import tariff quota for high-quality beef

                                                                        Marcia O’Connor
                                                         International Marketing Division


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