Brasilia and Washington have taken the latest technical steps to open the US market to Brazilian beef, which if all runs smoothly together with a 60 to 90 days public consultation period could see the first shipments in the second quarter of next year. Currently because of sanitary barriers linked to Foot and Mouth Disease, FMD, Brazil can only export industrialized beef to the US.
It is something spectacular to open a huge market such as the US for Brazilian beef, said Antonio Carmadelli, president of the Brazilian Association of the Beef exporting industry, Abiec. US is the world largest consumer of beef, 11.6 million tons annually of which it imports 1.02 million tons.
Besides if we make it to the US we have prospects of other openings in Nafta members, Canada and Mexico, plus Central America which follows US sanitary rules, added the Brazilian businessman.
The process to access the US market was started over 18 months ago with the former Agriculture minister Marcus Vinicius Pratini de Moraes but an outbreak of FMD forced to suspend negotiations.
Under the WTO cotton agreement reached in 2010, US was committed to opening its market for Brazilian pork and beef. But so far only the state of Santa Catarina has been able to benefit, particularly pork since it leads in pig farming.
Under the new system 14 Brazilian states will be able to export fresh or matured beef to the US. The idea was to make the official announcement last October when Dilma Rousseff was scheduled to visit the White House, but it all fell through with the disclosure of massive US spying.
Abiec estimates that in 2014 it will be able to sell anywhere from 5.000 to 10.000 tons of beef to the US, but 2015 could turn into a boom year.
Brazil is expected to export 6.5bn dollars of beef this year with Hong Kong, Russia and Venezuela as main markets.
The Brazilian government is also confident that the opening of the US market will also help to unlock other significant markets such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia.