By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – President of Brazil, Michel Temer, thanked his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, over the weekend for reassessing the situation of Brazilian meat exports and reopening its market to Brazilian meats from suppliers not involved in the federal police investigation dubbed Operação Carne Fraca (Operation Weak Flesh).
“President Michel Temer has reinforced the interest in joining efforts on both sides to further deepen bilateral cooperation and thanked the Chinese side for effectively addressing the issue of exporting Brazilian beef products to China,” the statement released by the Brazilian President’s Office said.
China suspended the import of Brazilian meat after the announcement of Operation Weak Flesh on March 17th by Brazil’s federal police. Days later, however, after negotiations with the Brazilian government, it reopened the market for meats not coming from processing plants under investigation in the operation.
According to the President’s office the two heads of state reiterated the importance of the Sino-Brazilian global strategic partnership. While President Temer reinforced Brazil’s interest to deepen bilateral cooperation, President Xi Jinping is said to be looking forward to Temer state visit in September, when leaders of countries making up BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will meet in Xiaman, China to discuss cooperation.
The telephone call by President Temer comes days after the Chinese leader’s historic visit to the United States, where President Xi Jinping is said to have told President Donald Trump that the Asian power would be willing to talk about ending the ban on US beef imports, in place since 2003. If that occurs, the US may take some international meat market share from Brazil.