It is now apparent that last month’s announcement that Brazilian beef had regained access to China was premature. Brazilian news outlets are reporting that China will require negotiation of a new sanitary protocol before trade resumes, which could slow the process significantly. Eight Brazilian plants are currently listed as eligible to export frozen beef and beef products to China, but shipments from those plants have been suspended since confirmation of Brazil’s first BSE case in December 2012. A second BSE case was confirmed in Brazil in May of this year.
Even under its current restrictions, Brazil is still the largest supplier of beef/beef variety meat to the China/Hong Kong region. Hong Kong reported first-half imports from Brazil of 207,414 metric tons (mt), up 15 percent from a year ago.
On a related note, Iran has reportedly lifted its ban on beef imports from the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, which had been in place since confirmation of Brazil’s latest BSE case. Brazil’s beef exports to Iran are sporadic, but the restrictions on beef from Mato Grosso contributed to unusually small volumes in June (1,471 mt) and July (1,790 mt) – the lowest monthly totals since January 2013. Through the first seven months of this year, Brazil’s exports to Iran were still up 148 percent from a year ago to 52,813 mt, making Iran its sixth-largest market.
Data source: Global Trade Atlas