The signature of a sanitation agreement between Brazil and Egypt may help improve beef exports, reduce costs and give greater assurance to the business. The Brazilian government is interested in signing an agreement of the sort and there are already sketches for a protocol on trading live animals.
According to information from Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, however, there still isn’t a formal negotiation process under way in the beef sector.
With a sanitation agreement, says the Ministry, the buyer country, in this case Egypt, gives the government of the exporting country the right to inspect slaughterhouses and qualify them as exporters.
This is an “agreement of equivalence”, in which Brazil would commit to certify the producing units according to the demands of the Egyptian sanitation authorities.
This, according to sources at the ministry and to experts, would help in the reduction of costs, as it would reduce the need for frequent technical visits by Egyptian technicians to Brazilian slaughterhouses to check whether they are within the standards required. These trips are covered by the companies involved in the business.
The treaty should also generate greater speed in transactions, as the organization of visits by foreign delegations depends on a series of diplomatic agreements and on the availability of technicians.
Beef producers are especially interested in promoting negotiations between both governments.
According to the executive director of the Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association (Abiec), Antonio Jorge Camardelli, up to the end of the month the organization is going to receive a delegation of Egyptian technicians who are going to visit associated slaughterhouses, and intends to put them in contact with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture.
In June the association intends to promote a workshop about the sector at the Brazilian embassy in Cairo.
“We want to promote closer ties and improve technical cooperation,” stated Camardelli.
The idea is to avoid problems with a market that has become extremely important for Brazilian exporters. Even without the agreement, Egypt is among the main importers of Brazilian beef.
In February, for example, the Arab country was the main buyer of fresh Brazilian beef, with 18,900 tonnes imported for US$ 19.9 million.
In the evaluation of specialists and sources at the Ministry, official approval would generate greater security to business in the case of isolated products arising, as was the case of foot and mouth disease in the state of Pará last year.
The agreement may create, for example, a channel of communications between the partner countries permitting fast supply of “privileged” information when some problem arises, possibly avoiding unnecessary embargos.
When bringing discipline to sector transactions, according to Camardelli, negotiations could also present possible areas of risk.
“The objective of the agreement would be to establish sanitary standards with regard to slaughter, packaging, etc.,” stated the secretary general of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB), Michel Alaby, who recently visited the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and discussed the matter with local authorities.
“An agreement like this would undoubtedly simplify beef exports to Egypt,” added the president of the CCAB, Antonio Sarkis Jr.
It is necessary to recall that meats exported to the Muslim countries, apart from following traditional sanitary requirements, must be prepared according to Islamic demands, like halal slaughter of animals.
To Alaby, an accord like the Egyptian, similar to that signed with Algeria, could further promote the Brazilian product in the region as a whole.
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency
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