By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A Russian ban on many Western food imports opens the door for Brazil to benefit, as almost ninety Brazilian slaughterhouses have been approved to export beef, offal, pork and poultry to the country. This follows Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s announcement of a one-year ban on products from many countries including the United States, Canada, the European Union, Norway and Australia.
The import ban included meat, fish, milk and dairy, fruit, vegetables imports, and came in retaliation for sanctions placed on Russia from those countries, due to Russia’s policies in Ukraine.
Shortly after that announcement, the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply reported that Russia’s health service would allow imports from eighty-seven Brazilian meat, pork, poultry and offal exporters.
“Brazil has to consolidate this moment, we can not yet count it as a victory, but we know that this is an important step,” Minister of Agriculture Neri Geller cautiously told G1, adding; “We are now able to show to the world that our [health safeguards] are working.”
Brazil had previously faced trade issues with Russia when the country, beginning in 2011, banned Brazilian meat produced in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and Mato Gross due to the addition of the growth-promoting drug, ractopamine to the cattle’s feed.
In December of 2012, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff met with Medvedev in Moscow, for talks to strengthen trade relations between the two countries. Following the recent World Cup, Rousseff also welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin, signing several bilateral trade agreements that will reportedly generate annual trade of up to US$10 billion between Brazil and Russia.
In 2013, 303 tonnes of Brazilian beef was exported to Russia, generating the equivalent of US$1.2 billion in revenue and making it second largest buyer of Brazilian beef after Hong Kong.
Of the recently approved export plants, 27 are beef slaughterhouses, 27 are chicken, 31 are offal, four are pork and two dairy plants await official approval.
Seneri Paludo, Secretary for Agricultural Policy in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply said the approval of the exports opens “a great window of opportunities for Brazil” in the Russian market.
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