It’s been more than a decade since the U.S. was allowed to sell beef and beef products on the Brazilian market. That’s about to change because of a deal the USDA reached with Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply.
Much of the concern in the past has centered around bovine spongiform encephalopathy, aka BSE — the U.S. now classifies Brazil as having a negligible risk for BSE. Since last year, the USDA has eliminated BSE-related restrictions in 16 countries, regaining market access for U.S. beef and pumping hundreds-of-millions of dollars into the American economy, the agency said. However, trade goes both ways, and not everyone is happy with this change. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association stated its concerns about the safety of the U.S. domestic herd “given Brazil’s ongoing FMD problem and continued bad-acts within the international trade community.”
Despite the objections, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack believes this move is the right one. “After many years of diligently working to regain access to the Brazilian market, the United States welcomes the news that Brazil has removed all barriers to U.S. beef and beef product exports,” he said. “We are pleased that Brazil, a major agricultural producing and trading country, has aligned with science-based international standards, and we encourage other nations to do the same.”
The USDA looks at this as a long-term solution and noted in its press release that the past seven years have represented the strongest period in history for American agricultural exports, with international sales of U.S. farm and food products totaling $911.4 billion between fiscal years 2009 and 2015.