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. 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. The U.S. suspended imports in 2017 after finding meat containing blood clots and lymph nodes. In 2016, sales of fresh Brazilian beef to the United States totalled $284 million.
Chinese beef importers are seeking to renegotiate prices previously agreed when they closed deals to buy dozens of shipments from Brazil. Some of them are refusing to pay for shipments that already arrived in China. Brazilian beef exports to China increased more than 50% last year helping beef prices in Brazil to reach an all-time high. Some Brazilian beef exporters are now trying to divert cargoes that have not yet reached China to other potential destinations, such as Iran.
Sao Paulo-based beef giant Minerva SA is withdrawing a planned IPO of Athena Foods in Chile amid market turmoil and economic uncertainties in Argentina. A trading debut in Chile was part of Minerva’s strategy to lower debt. Instead, the company opted to sell shares in Brazil. Athena, which holds Minerva’s operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay, will continue as a Minerva subsidiary.