By Samy Adghirni
The U.S. has reopened its doors to fresh beef from Brazil after a more than two-year ban, in a significant win for President Jair Bolsonaro ahead of a scheduled meeting with Donald Trump in March.
“This is great news because it shows that the quality of Brazilian meat is recognized by such an important market like the American one,” Brazilian Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina said in a video post Friday. “This is something we have been waiting for.”
Brazil can now begin shipping raw meat from cattle slaughtered from Feb. 21, according to a letter sent by the Food Safety and Inspection Service to the Brazilian minister and seen by Bloomberg News. The decision was taken after Brazil “corrected the systemic issues that led to the suspension,” according to the letter.
The U.S. suspended imports in 2017 after finding meat containing blood clots and lymph nodes. Brazil said the findings were abscesses stemming from a reaction to components of a vaccine against foot-and-mouth disease. After the U.S. measure, Brazil reduced the vaccine dose and changed the feed stock in an effort to overturn the ban. In October, the U.S. told Brazil it would keep the measure in place.
The beef ban had fueled criticism against Bolsonaro, a Trump-admirer who has shifted from Brazil’s traditional balanced foreign policy in favor of a full alignment with the U.S. The suspension of meat imports prompted accusations that Brazil’s all-in bet on Trump wasn’t delivering real benefits.
Bolsonaro will travel to the U.S. next month for the fourth time in a year with a pro-business agenda that will likely include a meeting with Trump, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow. Brazil will also try to convince electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Inc. to set up a plant in the South American country.