China expects Brazil to automatically suspend all exports from companies that are affected by Covid-19 cases. The warning was made by Chinese health official to Brazilian authorities, which have relayed the message to the private sector.
The warning sent by the embassy of Brazil in Beijing to the private sector highlights the risk that, in case of non-compliance with the automatic suspension for health reasons, the country´s meat exports have barriers imposed by China.
According to the June 17 letter, quoted by the Brazilian press, in the wake of the new Covid-19 cases on a food market in Beijing, local authorities “are adopting preventive measures that could affect Brazilian exports of meat products to the Chinese market”.
According to the embassy, researchers from the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CPCD) announced that the virus identified in imported fish “could have been contaminated during capture or transport”.
“As a preventive measure, the Municipal Bureau for Market Regulation announced that it will strengthen the inspection on fresh food and frozen meats. Several Chinese municipalities, in turn, have determined the suspension of the import and marketing of imported fish and beef,” the note says.
According to Brazilian businessmen, it adds, “large importing companies were instructed by government authorities to carry out nucleic acid tests on samples of imported meat, during the customs clearance process”.
“Due to costs and uncertainties, some importers suspended purchases and requested that cargoes already contracted not be shipped”, informs the embassy.
“Depending on the results of the investigation into the source of contamination in the Beijing food market, the Chinese authorities may eventually impose restrictions on the import of Brazilian meat products and/ or request more information about the preventive measures adopted by the slaughterhouses to avoid the contamination of the food to be exported”, completes the note from the Brazilian diplomacy.
According to the president of the Brazil-China Chamber of Commerce, Charles Tang, these are just preventive measures to combat the new coronavirus. “Logically, China has a concern about a second (Covid-19) wave, which started in a wet-food market, but several tests have been done in ports and are now they want the exporter to make a statement assuming responsibility for the non-contamination of exported products” , said.
Speaking to Brazilian website Canal Rural, Tang added that the pandemic situation is similar in the USA, Brazil’s biggest competitor and, and countries on which China relies for food supply. “Covid-19 is also high in the US, and Australia has problems with China, so I don’t believe that other countries are able to meet this demand.”
Faced with this scenario, adds Tang, there should be no breaking of relations. I do not believe that there will be a disruption of imports from Brazil. Brazilians should have an obligation to defend national interests, I say this because we have many Brazilians who are not so patriotic that attack China, which is the main Brazilian partner. The national interest is in a closer relationship between countries”, he concluded.
With exports to the US and regional neighbors like Mexico plummeting this year, Brazil is becoming more reliant on its sales to China.