December 11, 2003



Brazil To Take Over From US As World's Largest Chicken Exporter In 2003


Brazilian chicken exporters are confident they will take over from the U.S. as the world's largest chicken

exporter in revenue terms this year, the Brazilian Chicken Exporters Association reported Wednesday.


"And the tendency is for the gap to widen over the next years," said Julio Cardoso, president of the Brazilian Chicken Exporters Association, or ABEF.


Between January and September, Brazilian chicken export revenues totaled $1.302 billion, compared with U.S. exports of $1.072 billion, according to Brazilian and U.S. government figures.


Brazilian chicken exports have risen sharply this year, despite restrictions being slapped on exports to Russia and the European Union.


Over the first 11 months of the year, Brazilian chicken revenues rose to $1.65 billion, up 27% on the year before, said ABEF.


"We have managed to partly counteract the loss of those markets with the opening of 20 new ones," said Cardoso during a news conference.


Brazil now exports to 120 different countries.


He said Brazil has also benefited from sanitary problems in Europe, which restricted European exports to Asia and a Japanese ban on imports from China.


According to ABEF estimates, Brazil should export 2 million metric tons of chicken with revenues of $1.9 billion in 2004.


Local physical exports, however, will remain lower than those of the U.S. in 2003. Between January and September, U.S. exports totaled 1.65 million tons compared with Brazilian exports of 1.46 million tons.


"We have been concentrating on sending quality cuts while the U.S. exports mainly leg quarters," he said.


Brazilian physical exports grew 21.6% this year despite the loss of the Russian market.


With the imposition of import quotas there from May 1, exports in the first 11 months of 2003 dropped 29% on the year before to 192,154 tons.


And quotas promise to be even more restrictive in 2004, said Cardoso.


"The U.S. has sown up the Russian market; we are finding opportunities in other regions," he said.


Brazilian exports were also hit by the application of a 75% tariff on chicken thighs in Europe, previously levied at 15%. The Brazilian government is challenging the decision at the World Trade Organization.




Brazilian exporters are unlikely to repeat the impressive expansion in 2004, said Cardoso.


He forecast foreign sales will rise around 2% to 3% next year.


This year's growth was due to a happy coincidence of increasing international demand at the same time excess production appeared because of a drop in internal demand. That won't be repeated, he said.


Brazil will focus on trying to improve sales to China, a market of great potential in which the U.S. has made major inroads, Cardoso noted.

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