July 3, 2015


US ends 15-year ban on Brazilian fresh beef



Brazilian fresh beef exporters said they hope to capture 10% of US beef imports in the near term after the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Monday the United States is ending a 15-year ban on the importation of fresh beef from the South American country.


The Brazilian Beef Export Industries Association (ABIEC) said Brazil will start shipping fresh beef (chilled or frozen) to the US in September initially with an annual export quota of 64,000 tonnes.


It added, however, that it expects the annual quota to increase to 100,000 tonnes, or about 10% of the total US fresh-beef imports, in the "coming years".


The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said the lifting of the ban on beef imports from 14 of Brazil's 27 states, as well as from Northern Argentina, was made under amended regulations that specify conditions to mitigate risk of foot-and-mouth disease, or FMD.


This means that fresh beef can be safely imported from those countries provided certain conditions are met to make sure that beef exported to the US will not harbor the FMD virus.


APHIS said these were the same conditions imposed on fresh beef and sheep meat from Uruguay "that we have been safely importing for many years".


Most of the US' fresh-beef imports, which totaled 957,000 tonnes last year, came from Australia, Canada and New Zealand.


On the other hand, Brazilian beef's top buyers were Hong Kong, Russia and the EU, according to ABIEC.


Australia, the world's third-largest beef exporter, should be further threatened by the reentry of Brazilian fresh beef into the US market.


In May it was reported that Australian beef farmers were threatened by the reentry of Brazilian beef into China, after a three-year ban.


Jed Marz, chief executive of the Cattle Council of Australia had been quoted as saying that "having another competitor [in Brazilian beef] could have an impact on the volume of Australian beef exports to China".


Brazil used to be the world's No. 1 beef exporter but was toppled by India in 2013, which further got a boost from China, which lifted its temporary ban on buffalo meat, or carabeef, imposed since 2007 over foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) issues.


Brazil's total beef exports were 1.56 million tonnes worth $7.2 billion, according to a Reuters report. Its top buyers were Hong Kong, Russia and the European Union, according to ABIEC.-Rick Alberto
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