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EU confectionery escape duty axe through eleventh hour deal.

THE IMMINENT threat of heavy USA tariffs on many European Union (EU) confectionery exports has been lifted, after Washington and Brussels struck a preliminary deal over the long-running beef hormone dispute. Retaliatory duties such as 100% duties on filled chocolate, chewing gum, raspberry and lingonberry jams were to have been levied this month (May), but have now been suspended, along with other EU food products earmarked for new tariffs, such as fruit juices from Austria, Cyprus, France and Poland. But no more: in what they called a "pragmatic way forward", EU trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk have agreed to suspend these additional duties in return for the EU allowing new duty-free access annually for 20,000 tonnes of non-hormone treated American beef over three years, and then 45,000 tonnes in a fourth year. Existing lower level World Trade Organisation (WTO) sanctioned US duties (mainly on meat products) will continue until a final solution to the row is negotiated. The 100% duties would have threatened sales of European confectionery classics such as Belgian pralines and Italian limoncello-liquor chocolates, although UK-made filled chocolates would have escaped the tariff, with Washington welcoming London's support over the beef hormone issue.
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Author:Nuthall, Keith
Publication:International News
Date:May 1, 2009
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