China’s customs authorities will accept import applications for Brazilian beef that has been granted a sanitary certificate prior to Sept. 4, potentially allowing for cargoes of beef stuck at Chinese ports to finally clear customs.
Brazil had suspended exports of beef to China on that date after detecting two cases of atypical mad cow disease but meat that was already at ports continued to be exported, with most of it unable to clear customs on arrival in China.
Customs updated its website on Tuesday to say that it was now accepting import applications for beef certified prior to the suspension.
It was not immediately clear how long such procedures would take, or how much product has been stuck in limbo since the suspension.
Brazil is China’s top supplier of beef, catering to about 40% of its imports, and buyers had initially expected the trade to resume within weeks.
Since the cases in cattle were announced, Brazil has also reported two cases of a neurodegenerative disorder in people, though agriculture officials said they were not related to beef consumption.