China to Resume Imports of Brazilian Beef

On July 18, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) posted a notice indicating that China is reopening to boneless muscle cuts of Brazilian beef from cattle less than 30 months of age, as well as blood products. News of the market reopening was announced earlier in the day by Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, but the AQSIQ posting is the first official indication that the ban has been lifted. No changes have been made to China’s approved plant list for Brazil, which currently includes eight establishments approved to ship frozen beef and beef byproducts. Although these plants remained on the approved list, China has not allowed imports of Brazilian beef since announcement of Brazil’s first BSE case in December 2012.

Because AQSIQ’s notice was posted very late in the day, few other details are available. USMEF will report further on this development next week.

Brazil is currently the largest supplier of beef to the China/Hong Kong region but, like the United States, has been limited to exporting only to Hong Kong. When Brazil last had access to the entire region, China’s beef imports were a small fraction of what they are today. In the full calendar year of 2012, China imported 70,574 metric tons (mt) of beef/beef variety meat valued at $281.4 million (8,951 mt from Brazil, valued at $38.1 million). Through May of this year, China had already imported 141,104 mt valued at $605 million.

Through June of this year, Hong Kong was Brazil’s largest beef export market in terms of both volume (165,010 mt, +13 percent year-over-year) and value ($692.3 million, +18 percent).