In the month of June, a delegation team from Iraq will visit Brazil to access the sanitary conditions of Brazilian livestock and lift the embargo on beef imports in place since 2012. Buyers from the Arab country are awaiting this technical visit before they can start buying the product again.
According to the chairman of the Association of Brazilian Beef Exporters (Abiec), Antonio Jorge Camardelli, the Iraqi delegation will arrive in Brazil on June 2nd and remain in the country until the 12th. They will see the beef shipping system at the Santos Port, pay visits to a laboratory that tests local beef for quality and to a Brazilian meat plant, and meet with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture.
He also mentioned, “At the end of the visit, they should probably complete the process of lifting the ban [on Brazilian beef]. Iraq is a crucial market for Brazil. If it weren’t, we would not have had a barbecue in Erbil last year (during the 9th Erbil International Fair, in September). Iraq is gradually attaining political stability, and it has always been a major buyer from Brazil. Its [geographical] location affords it visibility. We did not see a reason for imports to be banned, since we were developing at full tilt in the region. We are expecting imports will be resumed.”
Iraq stopped purchasing Brazilian beef in December 2012, following the Brazilian Agriculture Ministry’s announcement that a cow bearing the causative agent of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) died in 2010. The animal died of other causes and did not develop the condition known as “mad cow disease.”
Other countries banned imports of beef from Brazil or from the Brazilian state of Paraná, where the cow died, including Chile, Egypt, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Qatar. The Arab countries Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait still have embargoes in place against Brazilian product. In 2013, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) rated Brazilian beef as posing “negligible” risk to consumers.
Mr. Camardelli also said that the Brazilian industry is able to meet Iraqi demand swiftly, and claimed orders have already been placed to Brazilian exporters. The deals, however, are pending approval from the Iraqi technicians.
Early this month, the Brazilian vice president Michel Temer received the Iraqi ambassador in Brasília, Adel Mustafa Kamil Al-Kurdi. On that occasion, the diplomat told the VP that Iraq imports 95% of the beef it consumes. He noted that Brazil has been a major supplier of the o the Arab country in the past, and is perfectly able to resume exporting.