Brazil says Saudi Arabia approved eight new beef exporting plants

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Brazilian government said in a statement on Monday that the Saudi Food and Drug Authority has approved eight Brazilian beef exporting plants, as the two countries seek to boost business ties.

The approvals come on the heels of an official visit to Saudi Arabia by President Jair Bolsonaro last month.

“It is a great start to the week,” said Agriculture Ministry Tereza Cristina Dias, who visited Saudi Arabia in September to negotiate more access for Brazilian products in that market, the statement said.

In 2018, Brazilian agribusiness exports to Saudi Arabia totaled $1.7 billion, the statement said referring to foodstuffs like fresh chicken, sugar, beef, corn and coffee, among others.

The eight approved meatpackers are Frigorífico Fortefrigo, Frigorífico Better Beef, Rio Grande Comércio de Carnes Ltda, Plena Alimentos, Indústria e Comércio de Alimentos Supremo, Frigol, Maxi Beef Alimentos do Brasil and Distriboi-Indústria, Comércio e Transporte de Carne Bovina.

Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis