The secretary of Agricultural Protection of the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply, Gabriel Alves Maciel, is heading a mission that leaves today for Moscow (Russia) to negotiate an end to the embargo imposed on Brazilian meat.
According to the Ministry’s press office, the remaining technical issues will be discussed in order to remove the barriers to Brazilian meat imports.
Early this month Russia freed Brazilian chicken imports, with the exception of chicken produced in the states of Pará and Amazonas.
Meat imports from state of Santa Catarina have been free of the Russian restrictions since last November, since Santa Catarina is the only state rid of hoof and mouth disease without vaccinations.
At the technical meeting scheduled for March 3 with representatives of the Russian Federal Service of Veterinary and Plant Supervision, the Brazilians hope that Russia will decide to end the embargo, which began in September, 2004, when an incidence of hoof and mouth disease was discovered in the state of Amazonas.
Since last year Russian and Brazilian technical experts have been working together to try to reach an agreement.
For Brazilian exports to Russia to return to normal, a commission of Brazilian and Russian veterinarians who spent three months evaluating sanitary conditions in Brazil had to render a favorable verdict, which is what Brazilian entrepreneur Marcos Vinicius Pratini de Moraes, president of the Brazilian Association of Meat Export Industires (Abiec), expected to occur.
At the end of last year, Pratini de Moraes called for a revision in the meat export contract norms, which he considers unwarranted and incompatible with international standards, especially now that Russia is about to join the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“The Russian veto on all types of meat, including chicken, just because of the appearance of a case of hoof and mouth disease, is an absurdity,” he remarked, referring to the fact that this disease does not attack fowl.
The entrepreneur also recalled that the decision to impose the embargo, on September 20, was made after a case was reported in the Amazon region, which is not one of the sources of meat exported by Brazil.
Through September 2004, Brazil exported US$ 1.160 billion to Russia and imported US$ 575 million. Of the total exports, 90% corresponded to shipments of meat, with the rest being mainly sugar, coffee, and tobacco.