Officials from Brazil, which would export goods under the South American bloc Mercosur, and the UK have both expressed strong interest in exploring a free trade deal once the latter has exited the EU.
The Brazilians, along with trading partners Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, would like to see more of their beef, pork and poultry sold across Britain’s retail and foodservice sector.
“We still have not had any official conversation on that [trade deal] yet, but for us in the private sector there is a lot of interest in a future agreement between Mercosur and the UK,” said Camila Sande.
Brazil wants ‘ambitious market access’
Speaking amid Irish-led criticism of Brazil’s food production standards, Sande, from international negotiations at the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock in Brazil (CNA), stressed Brazilian meat processors, under the auspices of Mercosur, wanted to enhance export opportunities to the UK.
Former Brazilian diplomat Roberto Jaguaribe, who now heads up Apex-Brasil (the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency), has stressed he, too, is keen on to get more Brazilian meat on supermarket shelves.
“With trade liberalisation topping our commercial agenda, Brazil is eager to further diversify its trading partners,” he said, adding: “Achieving ambitious market access for strategic agricultural sectors will be of core importance in any negotiation Mercosur embarks on.”
Pressed on how a Brazilian trade deal would benefit Brazil, Jaguaribe said: “The British, as well as European consumers and businesses stand to substantially gain from better access to high-quality and sustainably produced Brazilian meat. Consumers can afford to buy better-quality products for less, and businesses can improve their competitiveness through wider choice.
“For Brazil, agriculture is a key driver of a social and economic development that has helped over 40 million people to be lifted into the middle class in the past 10 years.”
Earlier this year, a spokesperson for the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) told our sister site Meat Trades Journal (paywall) that British government would explore opportunities with Brazil post-Brexit.
The UK will leave the EU in March 2019 and cannot launch trade negotiations with any other country until it has exited the 28-member political union.
English-speaking countries Australia and the US have also expressed strong interest in entering into free trade agreements with the UK post-Brexit.