Brazil Looking to Re-Establish Fresh Beef Exports to Japan
The imports of Brazilian fresh beef to Japan are currently still blocked. According to the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, Mr. Blairo Maggi, it will take at least one more year for Japan to open its markets to Brazilian fresh beef. Japan is also a major buyer of Brazilian soybeans, corn and cotton.
After the re-establishment of the Brazilian fresh beef exports to the United States after 15 years, in late August this year, the Brazilian beef exporters were expecting the renewal of exports to other significant markets, such as Japan. The fresh beef still can’t be exported to Japan due to foot-and-mouth disease. Although Brazil has successfully used a vaccine to eliminate the disease, it seems this was not sufficient to comply with the strict Japanese import standards. It was anticipated that, as it was the case with pork meat, Japan would reduce regulations on beef, following the U.S. health authorities’ decision.
Brazil exported only 1,400 tons of beef to Japan this year, compared with 1 million tons exported worldwide. During his official visit to Asia, the Brazilian Agriculture Minister has expressed his concern that the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement will allow the exports of fresh beef from United States to Japan with a much more competitive price. Consequently, Mr. Maggi advocated the establishment of better trade relations between Brazil and Asia as well as stimulating Brazilian exports to Asian countries.
The Brazilian exporters of fresh beef are not the only ones to confront heavy barriers while trading with Asian countries. Many Brazilian fruit exporters, while allowed to export their goods, are faced with heavy tariffs when trying to gain access to most of the Asian markets. It is surely expected that the Brazilian government will engage in more extensive negotiations on recognizing and harmonizing sanitary and phytosanitary food safety regulations between Brazil and many Asian countries, which could allow negotiations on free trade agreements in the future.