South America Calling

Brazil's Fleeting Scandal

John Harrington
By  John Harrington , DTN Livestock Analyst

For a brief shining moment, the U.S. beef market was dazzled by the bullish implications of the Brazilian meat scandal. If the world's largest beef exporter was significantly sidelined by quality problems and a lack of trust from major importers like China, just think what hungry holes it might create in global beef demand, desperate vacuums begging to be filled by alternative suppliers like the U.S.

The fact that U.S. beef has been locked out of China -- one of Brazil's largest customers -- since 2004 made this possible scramble in global trade even more tantalizing. (See When Bad Things Happen to Big Exporters at…).

If Brazilian product was completely taken off the table, would not China been finally forced to reconsider the acceptability of U.S. beef? (See blog The Black Swain of Brazil at…).

Unfortunately, such a bullish dream of expanding U.S. exports quickly vanished last weekend when China abruptly lifted the ban, apparently concluding that the Brazilian scandal just wasn't all that scandalous.

According to an Associated Press article Monday, the ban was lifted after Brazil "promised to block shipments by producers at the center of a product quality scandal ... Brazil also has promised to take stricter measures to ensure the quality of meat shipped to China," reported AP.

The article quoted a foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying: "The Brazilian side has formally informed China that it decided to suspend the export of the involved companies to China and promised it will take stricter measures to ensure the safety and reliability of meat products exported to China," Hua said.

"Therefore, China has removed the preventive and temporary protective measures and restored normal examination and quarantine work."

John Harrington can be reached at



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