Analyzing the Trade Dispute of Hormone-treated Beef

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Analyzing the Trade Dispute of Hormone-treated Beef *No graphs* As technology progresses, many issues arise about ethics, between progress and the repercussions society faces from that progress. In 1989, a trade conflict arose, that not only affected the economies of the world, but also arose health issues, that were neglected by the law as well as the World Trade Organization. The trade conflict that I am referring to is Europe’s ban of hormone-treated beef and the World Trade Organization ruling of this being in violation of its international obligations (Earth Justice 1997). The original trade agreement was that hormone-treated beef was safe and therefore, allowing trade of this product. Then the European Union banned all trading of this type of beef internally throughout Europe as well as throughout the world. The United States and Canada mounted a challenge against this restriction, since 90% of all beef that is produced in the US uses a combination of up to six growth hormones. The ban of this type of beef has cost the US approximately five million dollars annually. (Birchard 1999) The United States felt that banning hormone treated beef was unfair, since there was no scientific proof that it was a danger to a person’s health. So the US went to the WTO to eliminate this ban on an export that the US values. So the World Trade Organization imposed a committee to test whether the beef was harmful or not to the consumers, which they found no solid evidence that the beef caused any harm (Seidman 2000). Therefore WTO ruled in favor of the US that Europe’s ban was unfair international trade policy. Europe than appealed the WTO decision. Then a study released by the European Union on May 1st, 1999 stated that the six growth hormones in the US cattle pose health threats of differing severity, putting children at the highest risk. According to the European Union the worst hormone, is oestradiol-17B, a natural hormone, but some of the lesser dangerous hormones consist of testosterone, progesterone, zeranol, trenbolone, and meglangestrol acetate. (Birchard 1999) So Europe states that by imposing this ban they were actually trying to protect their country by imposing food safety standards.

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