China lat­est to suspend im­ports

New Straits Times - - Business -

BRASÍLIA: The fall­out from Brazil’s rot­ten meat scan­dal ac­cel­er­ated on Mon­day when China, a huge client, sus­pended im­ports, and the Euro­pean Union de­manded a par­tial ban.

An­other ban on Brazil­ian meat im­posed by Chile sparked fears of a trade spat be­tween the two South Amer­i­can part­ners.

China, which with Hong Kong is Brazil’s big­gest meat ex­port market, said it needed to know more about the al­le­ga­tions that ma­jor meat­pack­ing busi­nesses bribed in­spec­tors to get health cer­tifi­cates and masked tainted meat as fit for con­sump­tion.

“Un­til it re­ceives more in­for­ma­tion, China will not un­load meat im­ported from Brazil,” said the Brazil­ian agri­cul­ture min­istry.

“We ex­pect more than 30 coun­tries to ques­tion Brazil,” Brazil­ian Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Blairo Maggi told a news con­fer­ence.

If all of them halted im­ports of Brazil­ian meat, it would be cat­a­strophic for the coun­try, said the min­is­ter.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the EU ex­ec­u­tive arm, called on Brazil to im­me­di­ately halt ex­ports by four com­pa­nies im­pli­cated in the scan­dal.

Shortly af­ter, the Brazil­ian gov­ern­ment said it had com­plied, halt­ing ex­ports by all 21 meat pro­ces­sors un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

But af­ter Chile an­nounced a “tem­po­rary” ban on Brazil­ian meat prod­ucts, Maggi angrily threat­ened reprisals.

Ja­pan, an­other of the in­dus­try’s prin­ci­pal mar­kets, said it was con­sid­er­ing is­su­ing a no­tice to cus­tomers.

At least 30 peo­ple have been ar­rested in the scan­dal, with Brazil­ian po­lice raid­ing more than a dozen pro­cess­ing plants.

A poul­try-pro­cess­ing plant run by the multi­na­tional BRF group and two meat-pro­cess­ing plants op­er­ated by the lo­cal Pec­cin com­pany had been shut down, said the agri­cul­ture min­istry. AFP

BLOOMBERG PIC

A butcher cut­ting meat at a butch­ery stall in­side a market in Sao Paulo. Brazil has halted ex­ports by all 21 pro­ces­sors be­ing in­ves­ti­gated over a rot­ten meat scan­dal.

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