NCBA renews call for suspension of Brazilian beef imports
Following last week’s USDA report highlighting an increase in Brazilian beef imports, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) renewed its call for an immediate suspension of fresh beef imports from Brazil. The NCBA has repeatedly called for a thorough audit of Brazil’s animal health and food safety system, to ensure the safety of the US cattle herd. In 2021, Brazilian exports to the United States increased by 131%. In the first three months of 2022, Brazil has already shipped more than 50,000 tons of fresh beef to the United States
This unprecedented increase in imports triggered a temporary tariff safeguard of 26.4% that will apply to imports of Brazilian beef for the remainder of 2022. Although a temporary increase in tariffs may discourage new imports from Brazil, it does not address the underlying concern about Brazil’s repeated failure to meet international animal health and food safety standards.
“We are once again calling on Secretary Vilsack to suspend imports of fresh beef from Brazil, due to that country’s long history of not reporting BSE cases in a timely manner. It is incredibly disappointing that our science-based recommendations have not been met with any notable response from the United States Department of Agriculture,” said Ethan Lane, NCBA vice president of government affairs. “As beef imports from Brazil continue to increase, we urge the USDA to reconsider its stance on Brazilian beef and take the necessary steps to protect the integrity of the entire U.S. food supply chain. .”
The NCBA believes it is essential to completely restrict Brazilian imports until Brazil proves that it is a trustworthy and reliable trading partner capable of meeting our standards.
Only 12% of the beef consumed in the United States is imported, and almost 75% of beef imports are lean beef trimmings used in combination with higher fat trimmings to make ground beef. The majority of imported beef comes from countries that have formalized trade agreements with the United States or have specific import quotas. All other beef imports are sold within the annual “Other Countries” quota of 65,000 metric tonnes. Beef sold under the “Other Countries” quota is charged at a rate of 4.4 cents per kilogram, and beef sold above the quota is charged at a rate of 26.4%.
According to the latest report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the “Other Countries” quota is full, resulting in increased tariffs on beef imports from Brazil, Japan, Ireland, Lithuania and the United Kingdom for the remainder of 2022. A majority of the quota was met due to 50,000 metric tons of fresh beef imports from Brazil to the United States in the first quarter of 2022.