Russia ban on Brazil meat exports may soon be reversed: ABPA

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA (Reuters) - A temporary ban imposed by Russia on Brazilian beef and pork exports may be reversed soon, potentially minimizing the impact on local producers, an industry group and a market analyst told Reuters on Tuesday.

Russia’s agriculture safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said on Monday it would place temporary curbs on pork and beef imports from Brazil starting Dec. 1, after the feed additive ractopamine was found in some shipments.

In response, the Brazilian agriculture ministry said that controls in place would ensure pork meat exports to Russia do not contain the additive.

The ministry said it had requested documentation from Russian inspection services, including laboratory evidence of the alleged presence of ractopamine, to conduct an internal investigation into the matter.

The ministry said it would make “corrections” should the claims prove to be true. It said it had not received formal notification of the ban on Brazilian pork and beef exports, just the notification regarding the presence of ractopamine.

ABPA, which represents poultry and pork producers in Brazil, said the temporary ban had caused concern, but said it believed the Brazilian government would be able to act quickly to ensure resumption of shipments.

“The companies affiliated with ABPA respect Russian sanitary laws. The industry is certain about the characteristics of its products and guarantees that pork meat shipments do not utilize ractopamine,” ABPA said in a statement on Tuesday.

Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said on Monday that the additive was allowed in some countries but not Russia.

Russia became Brazil’s main pork importer, accounting for about 41 percent of volumes bought through September, ABPA said.

The country also imported about 11 percent of Brazil’s beef in terms of volume through October, beef industry group Abiec estimated.

Brazilian beef processor Minerva SA said on Tuesday that due to the Russian ban on beef imports from Brazil, it would redirect shipments to other markets.

Brazil has been gaining market share in Russia, which threatens the domestic industry, said Aedson Pereira, an analyst at consultancy Informa Economics FNP.

“This is a market-affecting decision to protect (Russia’s) national industry,” Pereira said.

He said Brazilian and Russian authorities are expected to discuss the matter and reach a swift agreement to lift the ban because Russia “still depends on Brazilian meats.”

Additional reporting by Jake Spring and Gram Slattery in Sao Paulo and Polina Devitt in Moscow; Writing by Ana Mano; editing by David Gregorio and Bernadette Baum