Brazilian poultry, beef and pork exporters are preparing to face new European Union sanitary restrictions beginning in 2006. At that time, the EU will no longer accept meat that has been treated with antibiotics or growth stimulants.
However, the executive director of the Brazilian Chicken Exporters Association (Abef), Claudio Martins, says the sector is used to such protectionism by the EU.
“This is not going to make a lot of difference because we do not use those products on our chickens,” he declared.
Martins went on to say that over the last few years the EU has ratcheted up restrictions on imports from outside the block using sanitary concerns as an excuse.
In another case, which Brazil has formally complained about at the World Trade Organization, the EU employed verbal legerdemain to raise the surtax on imported salted chicken breasts from 15.4% to 75%. The increase was made possible by simply changing the product denomination.
Martins says he considers EU protectionism part of the game and a natural consequence of the fact that Brazil has become the world’s biggest chicken exporter with 36% of the market.
He says the sector is quite capable of meeting any new challenges. As for the new sanitary restrictions, he says it just means Brazilian producers have to be careful with how they feed their chickens.
Last year chicken exports accounted for 48% of total Brazilian meat exports. That worked out to chicken exports of almost 2.5 million tons, worth just under US$ 2.6 billion. Compared to 2003, chicken export volume was up 44% and revenue up 26%.
Martins says the association is working to increase volume by 10% to 12%, and revenue by 15% to 29%, in 2005.
Translation: Allen Bennett