Brazilian beef Brazilian Agriculture minister, Reinhold Stephanes, stated that Brazil must "recover the European Union confidence" regarding beef following the recent temporary suspension of shipments imposed by the 27-country block.

    Speaking in Brazilian capital Brasí­lia next to the EU Animal Health and Welfare Director Bernard Von Goethem, Stephanes said that "we need to underscore that if we accept certain rules, we must abide by them, and if difficulties crop up, sit and discuss them."

    "The EU is a special market for Brazil but very strict and must be particularly cared for by farmers," said the Brazilian minister.

    EU banned Brazilian beef imports last February for three months on sanitary reasons, following several outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and resumed purchases of mature and boneless beef but only from 95 farms which have been proven to comply with the EU sanitary requirements.

    Van Goethem leads a delegation of EU experts who will spend a week in Brazil verifying sanitary conditions of Brazilian cattle herds, particularly the traceability system and measures adopted to prevent new outbreaks of foot and mouth disease, which in some areas seems "endemic."

    Van Goethem said the EU acknowledges Brazilian efforts to adapt its exports to the new stricter conditions imposed by the EU and anticipated that the list of farms certified to operate with Europe could be increased in the near future.

    "I believe Brazilian and EU vets have managed to understand each other and are ready to work jointly in a positive way," said Van Goethem.

    Brazil is the world's leading exporter of beef and was the EU main supplier with 65% of sales in volume and 56% in value until last February.

    Meantime in the Brazilian Congress members from the ruling coalition and opposition close to farm interests presented a bill to suspend the consideration of all treaty negotiations with the EU, currently in the Foreign Affairs and Defense commissions.

    According to the proposal all those treaties should be returned to the Executive pending an agreement on beef exports and the "unacceptable listing" of farms that are allowed to sell beef to the EU.

    "Instead of a strong stance, going with a boycott claim to the World Trade Organization (WTO) the Brazilian government is yielding to EU impositions without listening to Congress and farmers," said the sponsors of the bill.

    Mercopress

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