EU to End Retaliatory Tariffs

The Biden Administration has announced that the European Union (EU) will lift retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports in exchange for duty-free access for some steel and aluminum shipments.
U.S. dry bean exports to the EU have faced 25% retaliatory import tariffs since 2018 as a result of a trade dispute over U.S. tariffs on EU steel and aluminum. The EU had been the largest regional export market for U.S. dry beans prior to the imposition of 25% tariffs. 
Many of the dynamics have changed over the past three years as a result of retaliatory tariffs and the departure of the United Kingdom (UK) from the Union. While some dry bean exports have remained steady to top markets, such as Spain and Italy, others have declined steadily as the EU sought more competitive prices from other origins. 
With the removal of retaliatory tariffs, the U.S. Dry Bean Council says the industry can now focus on maintaining long-standing market shares and increasing exports in response to substantial interest in plant-based healthy and sustainable eating.
The UK is one of the top three European trade destinations for U.S. dry beans, and now operates as a stand-alone market separate from the EU. This presents significant growth opportunities for exports of U.S. dry beans as the UK is one of the most advanced markets in promoting plant-based foods. The UK has yet to remove the 25% retaliatory tariffs, but it is anticipated that this will also happen before the end of the year. 

Retaliatory Tariff Removal Discussions Press Forward

Since June 2018, the European Union (EU) has applied 25% retaliatory tariffs on the import of select U.S. agricultural products, including dry beans. The tariffs were applied in response to a Section 232 case that resulted in the application of tariffs on imports of European steel and aluminum. 
Almost since the day the tariffs went into effect, the U.S. Dry Bean Council (USDBC) has been advocating for their removal. Earlier this month, the United Kingdom government announced its determination at the conclusion of the commentary period to remove dry beans from the retaliation list. This is expected to take three to four months.
At the same time, during several conferences held between U.S. and EU trade authorities on the sidelines of the recent G-7 meeting in the UK, EU trade authorities also announced their optimism that the tariff dispute will be resolved by years’ end.
While there are still details to confirm and some more work to be done, indications are the by the end of 2021 the 25% retaliatory tariffs on imports of U.S. dry beans to the UK and the EU will be removed. The USDBC will continue to monitor and report on this situation as soon as final determinations are issued.

Dry Bean Value Proposition Study Results

In March, the U.S. Dry Bean Council commissioned a research project designed to identify the value proposition of U.S. dry beans. This is a critical part of the global marketing strategy to help define and tell the story of what makes U.S. dry beans stand out. This information will be incorporated into future marketing plans. 
Consumers in Spain tend to display the strongest recognition scores of the various types of beans. Overall, beans are perceived to be versatile, as they are used for many different occasions in each of the EU countries. In Spain and France, they are used as an entrée/in the center of the plate. The UK scores highest “as an ingredient to use in everyday home-cooked meals”, as well as “a healthy addition to their diet/meals”.
Get the full details here.

Dry Bean Trade Policy Update

With so much going on in the world of trade policy for dry beans, the U.S. Dry Bean Council has provided a update:
China Phase One Agreement
A 5% reduction on dry bean retaliatory import duties to 38%, still not at levels previous to the ongoing trade dispute. We have also learned that Chinese importers can apply for an exemption to bring in U.S. dry beans at previous applied tariff rates.
US/UK Trade
Discussions continue on prospects for a US/UK trade agreement as the UK continues to define the terms of its trade regime during the transition Brexit year through the end of 2020. The UK government is holding a consultation period on its MFN tariff levels once Brexit is complete in 2021, this is open to comments through March 5, 2020.
US/EU Trade
There is renewed vigor to engage in trade discussions with the EU. Negotiations are starting up again behind the scenes while ongoing retaliatory tariffs remain in place.
The CAFTA/DR trade agreement has reached full implementation for US Dry Beans. This means that all U.S. origin dry beans enter the Dominican Republic duty free with no limits on tonnage via TRQs. In many ways this opens the market to more bean imports from the U.S but it is also creating some roadblocks. We are addressing these with both the U.S. and DR governments to ensure full market access.

Dry Bean Trade Team Headed to the UK

A team of three industry delegates will head to the United Kingdom representing the U.S. Dry Bean Council for a packed week of business meetings with buyers and industry representatives in Manchester and London. The mission will wrap up with a visit to the trade division of the European Parliament in Brussels, where delegates will get an update on the implications of the ongoing tariff dispute that places 25 percent retaliatory tariffs on U.S. dry bean imports to the EU. Learn more about the trade mission.

Agriculture Not Included in EU Trade Talks

The European Union does not want to include agriculture in its trade talks with the United States. The EU has approved the terms for negotiating a trade agreement, and it limits the focus to industrial products.
Agriculture is a contentious issue for Europe and the U.S. The United States wants more access for its farm products and European Union protects its heavily subsidized farm sector. A 25 percent tariff remains on U.S. navy, kidney and Great Northern beans.