The final steps were taken to remove restrictions on American beef entering the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in alignment with international standards. United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk welcomed this important action, noting its economic significance for American farmers, workers and businesses.

“The United Arab Emirates is the largest market in the Middle East for American beef and beef products,”said Ambassador Kirk. “The removal of all restrictions on safe, high quality American beef is a very significant step for American exporters, particularly small and medium sized businesses – as well as for consumers in the UAE.”

The UAE Minister of Environment and Water notified the United States that the restrictions on U.S. beef imports would be lifted in a Jan. 24, 2012 letter to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). UAE’s action was in response to a Jan. 6, 2012 letter from USTR, as well as to interventions by U.S. officials posted in the UAE (both at the Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate in Dubai). Following the exchange of letters, on Feb.7, 2012, both parties were able to confirm all of the details and finalize the lifting of restrictions.

Prior to this action by the UAE, U.S. beef was required to be certified as being from cows under thirty months of age, which was costly to small- and medium-sized American businesses. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in 2010, the United States exported $36 million worth of beef and beef products to the UAE.