Brazil’s Beef Troubles: Russia Lifts Ban, EU May Impose Its Own

Happy Brazilian cow Brazilian beef exports are likely to rise in 2008 as Russia resumes importing meat from Brazil, the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (Abiec) said in São Paulo, in Brazil's Southeast. Abiec forecasts exports to reach around 1.67 million tons, compared to 1.6 million tons in 2007.

Income from exports is expected to rise US$ 5.1 billion up from US$ 4.5 billion in 2007, as international beef prices rise and Brazil manages to export more value-added products.

"Our focus now is not winning the volume competition. Income is what matters," said Abiec's president, Marcus Vinicius Pratini de Moraes, in a news conference.

Russia decided to lift a two-year ban on beef imports from eight Brazilian states starting on December first. The ban had been imposed by Russia, Brazil's main beef importer, due to foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks.

Brazilian exporters also plan to expand sales to new markets such as Cuba, Malaysia and China in 2008, Pratini said. Brazil is the world's largest beef exporter and its export prices are at their highest levels since 1994 because of higher demand.

But the sun is not shining on Brazil in the European Union. The EU Commission is scheduled to decide this Wednesday, December 12, on the future of Brazilian beef exports to EU countries.

EU Commissioner Markos Kyprianou, responsible for consumer protection, can either ban or place severe sanctions on exports from Brazil following a recent Food and Veterinary Office report on standards.

Mr Kyprianou has warned the Brazilians that deficiencies highlighted in the March report had to be addressed. Sources in the Commission said Mr Kyprianou is expected to make a proposal in relation to Brazilian beef.

A ban on Brazilian beef would almost certainly result in an instant rise in beef prices in the EU, and would give beef finishers a price hike for the spring, according to the Irish press.

Mercopress

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