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Brazil Asks SA To Lift Beef Import Ban

02 November 2009

BRAZIL - Brazil is lobbying South Africa to lift a ban on beef and pork imports, which have been in place since the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Brazil in October 2005.

“We hope to solve at least the beef embargo by year-end,” the head of the trade section at the Brazilian embassy in Pretoria, Mari Carmen, told the The South African Farmer's Weekly at a recent Brazilian trade fair. Several countries have since lifted their embargoes fully or partially.

There is increased pressure on South Africa to resolve the issue, with complaints at the World Trade Organisation likely if progress is not made soon. However, the South African authorities still have concerns about certain health and safety issues.

Meanwhile, South Africa is keen to deepen relations with Brazil – one of the first countries President Jacob Zuma visited after his inauguration. Re-opening the South African market for Brazilian meat imports will be imperative in this regard.

The ratification of a preferential trade agreement between the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu), where South Africa is the largest member, and Mercosur, with Brazil as the economic powerhouse, is also high on South Africa’s agenda. Any trade tiffs can delay the implementation of this agreement, something South Africa would like to avoid. Director at the SA Meat Industry Company (Samic) Tim Davidson said imported meat must meet certain health and safety criteria, and the ban will only be lifted once veterinary services is convinced that Brazilian meat holds no threat to the national herd.

Brazilian beef remains a thorny issue in the European Union (EU), where several ranches have been approved to restart exports to the EU. But concerns remain that these ranches don’t comply with strict EU regulations, with a lack of traceability being the main concern.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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