Market News & Headlines >> China Resumes Meat Imports from Brazil

Over the weekend, China lifted its blanket ban on all meat imports from Brazil and some other countries also eased import restrictions, easing concerns about the health of the Brazilian meat sector. 

The move by China, the largest overall buyer of Brazilian meats, came after Brazilian officials clarified details of a police investigation into alleged bribery of health inspectors by meat packers. Also on Saturday, Chile said it would end its ban on Brazilian meats with the exception of products from 21 plants suspended from exporting by Brazil’s government. Egypt also lifted a two-day-old ban on meat imports from Brazil.

Only one of the 21 suspended Brazilian meat plants was exporting to China. Two sources in China confirmed to Reuters News Service that a ban remained in place on imports from that plant, as well as any meat approved by seven Brazilian veterinary experts linked to the police investigation.

Brazilian agriculture minister Blairo Maggi welcomed China’s decision and said he hoped to convince Hong Kong, Brazil's No. 2 meat export market, to follow China and lift its full ban on Brazilian meat imports. 

Meat was Brazil’s No. 3 export product in 2016, in terms of dollar value, with exports of chicken, beef and pork products totaling $13.5 billion. China accounted for $1.75 billion of that total. Brazil’s meat exports averaged $50.5 million per day last week, a drop of 19% versus a week earlier, according to Brazil’s trade ministry. However, at an average of $59 million per day, exports over the first four weeks of March as a whole were up 7% over a year earlier, showing solid growth.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Brazil ordered three more meat processing plants to suspend production entirely and has now shut down a total of six plants.