By Ana Mano
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil’s decision to suspend grain import tariffs temporarily is likely to benefit the United States and Ukraine, whose producers could sell products like corn for use as feed in Brazil, the leader of a Brazilian meat lobby group told Reuters on Tuesday.
The government on Monday announced that it would waive import duties from supplies outside the South American Mercosur trade bloc, in response to a direct request from meat association ABPA, its President Ricardo Santin said. The industry is seeking alternative corn providers given the high prices of the cereal in the domestic market, he added.
The suspension of import duties, which will take effect seven days after it is published in the federal register, will be valid through Dec. 31 and also covers soybeans, soymeal and soy oil.
ABPA has also asked the government to allow imports of U.S. genetically-modified (GMO) corn varieties not approved in Brazil if emergency supplies are needed, Santin said. Those imports would be destined to make animal feed only, he said.
“There is a difficulty in finding varieties in the U.S. that are already approved in Brazil,” Santin said about corn. “It’s not just like going there and buying it.”
As the price of corn rises, ABPA said the meat industry is looking for feed alternatives, including wheat.
In Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, where many meat plants operate, farmers are already planting a larger area with wheat as a result of potential demand from food processors, he said.
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