Brazilian meat exports to China to resume

Updated: 2014-12-01 04:15

By JACK FREIFELDER in New York(China Daily Latin America)

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Brazil expects to resume exports of its meat products to China and Saudi Arabia before the end of the year, according to Neri Geller, Brazil's minister of agriculture, livestock and supply.

The growth potential from the readmission of Brazilian beef into the two markets will help further industrialize Brazil's global agricultural trade and incorporate technological advances, Geller said at a Nov 18 news conference.

"The decision of the Chinese government is recognition of the rigorous process of production and inspection," Geller said. "This generates trade surplus and moves the national economy."

Exports to China are set to resume in the first half of December, a Ministry of Agriculture press release said.

Brazil's Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA) said in a statement that the need to expedite the clearance of new slaughterhouses is paramount to complete the qualification process.

"The release of exports to the Chinese market is strategic for the Brazilian cattle industry, given that China is the largest trading partner of Brazil and the most promising global market for our meat, due to the increasing [global] consumption of animal protein," the statement said.

A breakthrough to reopen the meat trade between the two nations was made at the G20 Leaders' Summit in Brisbane, Australia, concluding several months of talks.

On Nov 16, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on the side of the summit to discuss the growing Brazil-China relationship.

Talks centered on further cooperation in areas including oil and gas dependence, energy initiatives, high-speed rail technology and the growing agricultural trade, according to a release from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

China is already the largest overseas trading partner for Brazil, government data showed. Bilateral trade grew to $83.3 billion in 2013, up from $3.2 billion in 2002, according to a July 17 report from Reuters.

China and Saudi Arabia banned the import of Brazilian beef in December 2012 in response to a case of mad cow disease reported in the southern state of Parana. In May, Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture confirmed a second case of the illness.

A similar ban was put on US beef in 2003, following a flare-up of mad cow disease in Washington state.

Mad cow, or BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), is a fatal disease in cattle that was first reported in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. In 2007, the UK Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee recognized atypical mad cow as a separate, distinct strain of the disease.

Since 2012, Brazil has been absent from the top five list of beef exporters to China — which are now Australia, Uruguay, New Zealand, Canada and Argentina, according to the US Meat Export Federation.

The US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service released projections for its global meat-production forecast in September.

Brazil, the world's second-largest producer of beef, is expected to increase beef production by 3 percent. Countries expected to increase beef imports include Canada, China and Egypt.

Exports of Brazilian beef totaled more than 760,000 tons in the first half of 2014, a double-digit increase year over year, data from the Brazilian Association of Beef Industry and Exporters (ABIEC) showed.

In 2012, the last year before the embargo, beef exports to China reached $74.87 million and $156 million in trade with Saudi Arabia, Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture said.

Geller said the reopening of these markets in 2015 is expected to generate trade between $700 million to $ 1.2 billion.