By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The European Union (EU) announced on Thursday (April 19th) that it is disaccrediting twenty Brazilian chicken meat exporting plants from nine Brazilian companies, due to health issues. The Brazilian government reacted, stating it will enter a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to reverse the embargo.
“Our complaint is that the European Community says it is a health issue, but if Brazil pays a tariff of 1,024 euros per ton and sends everything as fresh meat, it goes without any problem. So it’s not a health issue. And that is what we are going to complain about at the WTO,” Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi told journalists on Thursday, adding that by paying the extra-quota fee, the salmonella sanitary requirements are reduced from 2600 kinds of bacteria to only two.
The measure will affect some of Brazil’s largest poultry exporters, like BRT and JBS. According to Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA) Brazil is the second largest producer of chicken meat in the world, behind only the United States, and the largest exporter with more than 4.3 million tons shipped and annual revenues of US$7,2 billion.
ABPA data shows that of all the chicken meat Brazil exports 7.3 percent is shipped to the European Union and that the units affected by the embargo account for about 30 to 35 percent of the chicken production exported to the European Union.
“The association considers the decision taken by European states to be unfounded as a protectionist measure that does not rely on health or public health risks. The decision taken today by the European Community is disproportionate and inconsistent with the rules laid down in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement,” read the statement issued by ABPA on Thursday.