China ‘may open door’ to more Brazilian meat imports

China ‘may open door’ to more Brazilian meat imports

China may open the door to more Brazilian meat imports after high-level talks set for May, the Chinese ambassador to Brazil said on Monday.

Yang Wanming did not say how many meat processing plants could be approved by China but said the issue would be discussed with Brazilian Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias when she arrived in China.

New export permissions could be announced when Brazilian Vice-President Hamilton Mourao visited Beijing late next month, Yang said.

“We believe through the cooperation of both countries’ agriculture ministries and quality inspection departments, more Brazilian farm and animal products can be imported into the Chinese market,” Yang said.

As many as 78 Brazilian processing plants could be added to the list of those permitted to export to China, a source said.

The prospect of increased meat exports from Brazil to China came as analysts warned that talks between the United States and China to ease trade tensions could affect demand for Brazilian soy.

Brazil is the world’s leading exporter of both soybeans and beef. Chinese purchases shot up last year after Beijing put tariffs on US soy in response to measures announced by US President Donald Trump.

Regardless of whether a deal is struck, Yang said he believed Chinese demand for Brazilian soy would remain stable.

“I personally think there is no need to worry,” he said.

Chinese investment in Brazil hit a seven-year high in 2017 but the figures for last year, which have not been released, are expected to have fallen as an unpredictable election resulted in the appointment of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

On the campaign trail, Bolsonaro expressed scepticism about rising Chinese investment in Brazil, but Yang said he had a long meeting with the new president in March in which Bolsonaro said he would work hard to expand cooperation between the two.

Chinese investment could grow again in 2019, Yang said, although that will depend in part on Bolsonaro’s plan to revive economic growth with social security and tax reforms.

The ambassador said Chinese telecom company Huawei Technologies was “very interested” in collaborating with Brazil on the development of fifth-generation (5G) mobile communication technology.

However, more concrete decisions would need to wait for the Brazilian government to announce policy on how the technology should be developed, Yang said.

The US has pushed to block Huawei from developing 5G technology in countries from England to Australia, saying the firm’s equipment could be used by the Chinese state to spy.

Huawei denied those allegations, and China said the US had presented no proof to back up its contentions.

Yang also said that state-run China Communications Construction and China Railway Engineering were studying bids for Brazil’s Ferrograo and Fiol railway concessions, which the government planned to auction this year. Final bidding decisions had not been made, he added.

 

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