Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 November 2018

Brazil rows with EU over beef exports

Declan O'Brien

Serious differences have emerged between the Brazilian authorities and the EU commission following the decision to exclude the South American state's beef from the European market.

The difficulties centre on the procedures followed by the Brazilians when choosing the farms from which cattle could be exported to Europe.

EU officials had sought a list of 300 eligible farms from the Brazilians which could then be expected by personnel from the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) to confirm that they met with EU standards.

When the Brazilian authorities submitted a list of 2,681 farms, it is understood that the EU indicated that its FVO personnel were not in a position to verify that number of holdings.

The Commission also insisted that the Brazilians had not provided EU officials with full reports of audits and inspections which guaranteed that the farms chosen fully met EU requirements for import.

However, this view is challenged by the Brazilian ambassador to Ireland, Mr Stelio Amarante.

He claimed that all the farms on the list which was presented by Brazil complied fully with the traceability criteria devised by the EU.

"I have no doubts about the seriousness of the inspections made in the states of Mato Grosso, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Sul, Espirito Santo and Santa Catarina," ambassador Amarante said.

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The ambassador pointed out that 45pc of the farms inspected had not qualified for export clearance. He said the final number which passed the Brazilian inspection process could not be considered excessive, given the level of investment on Brazil-ian farms.

Mr Amarante reiterated his view that the latest move to exclude Brazilian beef was "arbitrary and unjustifiable".

"This campaign is a well devised protectionist conspiracy not only against our exports but also against European consumers, who will be forced to pay even higher prices for a product which is already overpriced," the Brazilian ambassador claimed.

The ambassador insisted that a revised list would not be forwarded by the Brazilian agriculture ministry to the EU.

He predicted that FVO inspectors who are due in the country later this month may draw up a list of suitable farms from the 2,681 already passed by the Brazilians.

Meanwhile, the commission has insisted that the ban could be lifted at any time.