Brazil expected to start exporting beef to China in second half

10 March 2010

Sao Paulo, Brazil , 10 March – The first exports of Brazilian beef to China are expected to begin in the second half of the year, the chief executive of the Brazilian Association of Meat Exporting Industries (Abiec) told financial newspaper DCI.

“We are ready for the business, but as the Chinese government is slow in its approval process, I believe that we will start exporting only in the second half of the year,” said Otávio Cândido, noting that the re-launch of exports will start 5 years after they were halted entirely and 14 years after bilateral negotiations began.

In February, China recognised 16 Brazilian states as being free of foot and mouth disease and is currently awaiting a list of 19 refrigerated warehouses – including 14 listed by the country itself and five that already export processed meat – for sanitary approval.

Since 2005 China has restricted the acquisition of beef from Brazil after foot and mouth breakouts in Mato Gross do Sul state, although the stalemate on sale of meat between the countries has been in place for the last 14 years.

After a protocol of intentions was signed in 2002, China opened its market up in 2004, however, with the foot and mouth breakout of 2005, negotiations ended.

Due to the consumer potential of the Chinese market, Abiec estimates that the country will likely be near the top of the list of countries to import most Brazilian beef, increasing demand further in a sector that is clearly in recovery.

“China is likely to reach the levels of Hong Kong, which is the fifth biggest buyer of Brazilian beef,” said Cançado, noting that in January and February Hong Kong imported 24,564 tons of beef worth US$55.693 million. (macauhub)