Johannesburg - South Africans will soon be able to start buying Brazilian beef again.
According to Mari Carmen, head of the trade division of the Brazilian Embassy in Pretoria, the ban on Brazilian deboned beef should be retracted within the next three weeks.
The regulatory processes to do so are currently being finalised by both countries' ministers of agriculture, she says.
Agreement has also already been reached that the ban on all other categories of beef will be lifted, but at this stage it's not clear when this will occur.
According to David Wolpert, CEO of the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters, the lifting of the ban could bring down the price of beef.
Gerhard Schutte, CEO of the Red Meat Producers Organisation, said only about 8% of the beef is imported, 6% of which comes from neighbouring states.
The import ban on Brazilian pork and beef was instituted in October 2005 after the outbreak of foot and mouth in parts of the country.
Brazil is the world’s biggest exporter of beef and in 2005 exported about R104m worth of beef to South Africa.
This is, however, overshadowed by imports of pork and chicken from Brazil, worth R193m and R633m in 2005 respectively.
In 2009 Brazil exported about R1bn worth of chicken to South Africa.
If the ban on pork is lifted, it will have a much greater effect on the market than the lifting of the ban on beef, said Wolpert.
But no progress has yet been made in scrapping the ban on Brazilian pork, said Carmen.
This issue is expected to be high on the agenda during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, when the Brazilian minister of trade and industry gets together with Dr Rob Davies, his South African counterpart, to negotiate a strategic agreement between the two countries.
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