President Trump announced a new trade deal with the European Union on Friday that will nearly triple the amount of U.S. beef exported to Europe in the coming years.
"Our beef farmers, we didn't think were being treated fair, but the European Union stepped up and we appreciate it," Trump said at a signing ceremony in the White House's Roosevelt Room.
Under the agreement, the EU will establish a 35,000-ton annual duty-free quota for beef imports exclusively from the U.S. The quota will initially start at 18,500 tons and be increased over a seven year period.
The hike in U.S. beef exports to the EU — currently around 13,000 tons annually — will boost the industry's sales in Europe from $150 million to $420 million a year, according to U.S. Trade Representative estimates.
"Today is about delivering real, positive tangible results in the transatlantic trade relationship — the strongest, biggest trade relations in the world," Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU Ambassador in Washington, said at the signing ceremony. "The is a great day for American farmers. This is a great day for European consumers."
Clockwise from Left: EU Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis, President Donald Trump, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Deputy Head of Mission for the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU, Jani Raappana. / Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock
The deal, however, still requires approval from the European Parliament.
"Opening markets to our farmers is about more than just an industry, it is about a way of life," Trump added, speaking alongside other U.S. and EU trade officials, as well as, several cowboy hat-wearing cattle ranchers and industry representatives.
The deal comes just over a year since Trump and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker signed a Joint Statement pledging to solidify trade relations, which topped $1.3 trillion in 2018, though tariff-free agreements.
"For many years it has been difficult for us to sell our high-quality U.S. beef to European consumers because of the restrictive tariff and non-tariff barriers," Jennifer Houston, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, said in a statement praising the deal. "It is exciting to know that European families will enjoy more of the delicious U.S. beef that we feed our families."
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer also spoke at the signing ceremony, praising the guaranteed market share U.S. ranchers will have in Europe and urging the European lawmakers to quickly approve the deal.