The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reached an agreement with Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply to allow access for U.S. beef and beef products to the Brazilian market for the first time since 2003. Brazil's action reflects the United States' negligible risk classification for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and aligns Brazil's regulations to the OIE's scientific international animal health guidelines.
"After many years of diligently working to regain access to the Brazilian market, the United States welcomes the news that Brazil has removed all barriers to U.S. beef and beef product exports," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "We are pleased that Brazil, a major agricultural producing and trading country, has aligned with science-based international standards, and we encourage other nations to do the same. Since last year alone, USDA has eliminated BSE-related restrictions in 16 countries, regaining market access for U.S. beef and pumping hundreds-of-millions of dollars into the American economy.
"The Brazilian market offers excellent long-term potential for U.S. beef exporters. The United States looks forward to providing Brazil's 200-million-plus consumers, and growing middle class, with high-quality American beef and beef products," Vilsack said.
Both countries will immediately begin updating their administrative procedures in order to allow trade to resume. U.S. companies will need to complete Brazil's regular facilities registration process.
In a separate decision, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) also recently determined that Brazil's food safety system governing meat products remains equivalent to that of the United States and that fresh (chilled or frozen) beef can be safely imported from Brazil. Following a multi-year science-based review consistent with U.S. food safety regulations for countries that export meat, poultry and egg products to the U.S., FSIS is amending the list of eligible countries and products authorized for export to the United States to allow fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Brazil.
The Brazilian agreement is just the latest example of USDA's ongoing efforts to knock down barriers to U.S. exports. In 2016 alone, these efforts have led to the reopening of the Saudi Arabian and Peruvian markets for U.S. beef, the South Korean market for U.S. poultry, and the South African market for U.S. poultry, pork and beef. In 2015, U.S. beef exports reached $6.3 billion thanks to aggressive efforts by USDA to eliminate BSE-related restrictions in 16 countries since January 2015, gaining additional market access for U.S. beef in Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Guatemala, Iraq, Lebanon, Macau, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Saint Lucia, Singapore, South Africa, Ukraine, Vietnam and, now, Brazil.
The past seven years have represented the strongest period in history for American agricultural exports, with international sales of U.S. farm and food products totaling $911.4 billion between fiscal years 2009 and 2015.