The decision to suspend the embargo was made during meeting between Brazilian authorities and Sergey Dankvert, the head of Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance of the Russian Federation (Rosselkhoznadzor), in Moscow last Friday (23 November).
Dankvert said the preliminary analysis of documents submitted by Brazilian veterinary authorites suggested that previous violations of Russia’s veterinary and sanitary rules had been addressed, but added that exports would only resume once a thorough study of the documents had been completed and a list of approved meat plants had been agreed.
The two countries also agreed that every consignment of meat products sent to Russia would be accompanied by a declaration confirming the absence of the growth hormone ractopamine. Rosselkhoznadzor warned that if ractopamine were found in any future shipments of meat from Brazil, it would consider placing a blanket ban on all meat imports from the country.
Restrictions on Brazilian meat imports were first imposed by Russia on 15 June 2011, when inspectors identified violations of Russia’s veterinary and sanitary rules at Brazilian plants. Since then, Brazil’s veterinary authorities have carried out inspections and supervision of over 160 exporting establishments, sending audits and action plans to Rosselkhoznadzor and attending 10 separate meeting with Russian officials.
Between August 2011 and 2012, 26 exporters in other Brazilian states were granted approval to resume exports of beef, pork and poultry to Russia, but the ban has remained in place for 85 exporting companies in Mato Grosso, Parana, Rio and Granda do Sul until now.
Despite the restrictions, Brazilian exports remained steady between January and October this year, reaching a total of US$12.981bn, compared to US$12.965bn the year before. However, Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply Mendes Ribeiro Filho said that resumption of exports to Russia from the three states would be very beneficial for the Brazilian meat sector.
“Although we have won ground with the sale of meat products to other countries, the importance of the Russian market is undeniable,” he said. “The outlook for next year is that the meat sector will hit record highs for Brazilian exports with ease.”
In addition to a return to normal trade with Russia, Brazil is hoping that pork exports to Japan will resume next year. The country has been in negotiation with Japan for five years, and Japanese authorities recently agreed to allow imports from the FMD-free state of Santa Catarina.