In a ministerial visit to China in November, negotiations were concluded on a new agreement, allowing beef to once again be exported to the country, according to the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (ABIEC).
It comes after a two-year ban, put in place in December 2012 following the discovery of an atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the state of Paraná, in southern Brazil.
Chinese minister Zhi Shuping met with Brazilian minister for agriculture, livestock and food supply (MAPA) Neri Geller in Beijing, China, where the two sides discussed trade issues concerning the inspection and quarantine access of various food and agricultural products.
Fernando Sampaio, executive director of ABIEC, told GlobalMeatNews, that Brazil sent all the information about the 2012 to the World Organisation for Animal Health and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), and has kept its status as having a negligible risk for BSE.
"AQSIQ also sent its specialists to Brazil in the first half of 2014. Because of these steps, at the BRICS Summit in Brazil last July, China’s president Xi Jinping announced the lift of the ban," said Sampaio.
He told GlobalMeatNews that the agreement is currently for the supply of fresh beef from the FMD-free zone in Brazil. "We currently have eight approved plants in the centre west and southern region of Brazil, and 11 more to be approved soon," explained Sampaio.
Brazil exported approximately 17,000 tonnes (t) of beef to China in 2012, before the ban came in. "Exports were rising at a fast pace when the ban interrupted trade," he said.
"China now imports about 300,000t of beef. We believe Brazil has the competitiveness to gain an important share in this market. However ABIEC hasn’t made any forecasts until shipments start to be regular again and we have a clear picture on the approval of new plants."