Meetings of Brazil and Russia on meat trade embargo

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Friday, September 09, 2011

Meetings will be held this week between Brazilian and Russian officials in multiple countries to renew discussions over quotas for meat exports, Russia's bid to enter the World Trade Organization, and Russia's ongoing trade embargo against more than 80 Brazilian meat processors.

Brazil's Foreign Relations Minister Antonio Patriota met Sunday in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Serguei Lavrov, to discuss all three issues. Patriota guaranteed to Lavrov that Brazil was politically committed to Russia's entry bid for the WTO later this year, signaling that Brazil is close to accepting an agreement on quotas for meat exports, since the two issues appeared to be linked in early August.

Brazil's minister also renewed talks on the Russian embargo blocking meat imports from processors in the states of Mato Grosso, Rio Grande do Sul and Parana. Patriota said a team of Brazilian "technicians" will go to Moscow this week to try and work quickly toward a solution. However, the Russians say their plan is to send their own inspectors back to Brazil to revisit processing plants that have been included in the embargo since June.

Russia's Lavrov called for negotiations for WTO entry at the organization's upcoming December conference. Russia will need to publish a first draft of commitments in the coming weeks on how it will open its market to further global imports if it wants to win WTO approval.

Within the next two weeks, Russia needs to finish up negotiations with poultry-exporting nations such as Brazil on which nations or global regions will get which cut of an expanded poultry import quota. Last month, Moscow had indicated the quota would heavily favor thighs and drumsticks from the United States. But last week, Moscow shared revisions that Brazil's poultry industry found positive.

Associations for Brazil's meat producers and exporters now believe Russia may only suspend the Brazilian trade embargo after it has received the WTO approval it seeks.

Talks between diplomats for both countries should continue in Geneva this week and next. In addition, Russia will send a deputy minister this week to the Cairns Group meeting in Canada, which includes major agricultural exporting countries.

A lead economic official from Brazil's Foreign Relations ministry will talk with Russians this week about ending meat import quotas by 2020, and a Brazilian delegation of officials will visit Moscow this week to discuss meat sanitation issues.

But while Brazil may be in a hurry to settle this, Russia is going at its own pace. Russia's veterinary service Rosselkhozadzor plans to reinspect Brazilian meat processors in the fourth quarter of this year, before suspending or extending the embargo by year's end.
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