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29/10/2015 - 20:00hs
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Agriculture minister to visit Saudi Arabia

Kátia Abreu will continue negotiations to unlock exports of Brazilian beef and will attend the Business Forum South America-Arab Countries.



São Paulo – Kátia Abreu, Brazil’s minister of Agriculture, will go to Saudi Arabia next week to continue negotiations for the reopening of the market to Brazilian beef exports and to attend the Business Forum South America- Arab Countries, on November 8th and 9th, an event leading up to the 4th Summit South American-Arab Countries (Aspa, in the Portuguese and Spanish acronym), scheduled for November 10th and 11th in Riyadh, the country’s capital.

The Arab nation suspended beef imports at the end of 2012, when the Brazilian government announced that an animal from the Paraná state herd, which died in 2010, was carrying the causing agent of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), aka mad cow disease, without, however, developing the disease.

Since then, government officials from both countries had several meetings to discuss the resumption of exports. In June, for instance, Saudi authorities were in Brazil to visit beef producing plants to get to know the Brazilian sanitary controls, with the goal to support a decision about the embargo. The expectation now is for negotiations to advance.

In the business forum, the minister will speak on investment opportunities in Brazilian agribusiness.

After Saudi Arabia, Abreu will go to the United Arab Emirates and has meetings scheduled with authorities and businesspersons in the capital Abu Dhabi. After, she will go to India and China.

Agribusiness exports from Brazil to Saudi Arabia fetched USD 1.52 billion from January to August, up 7.25% from a year ago, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. Sales to the UAE grossed USD 831 million, down 25.5%. 

Diplomacy  

Foreign Ministry sources said some of the main topics on the Aspa summit’s agenda will be the issue of refugees fleeing conflicts in Syria and other countries in the region, as well as the conflicts in themselves, i.e. international affairs. 

The primary concern regarding refugees is the multitudes trying to reach Europe, whereas Brazil, despite its distance, issued over 8,000 visas to people fleeing the civil war in Syria, and granted refugee status to over 2,000. 

Other important topics, according to the Ministry, will be energy, food security, the environment, desertification, water resource management, South-South cooperation in healthcare, and trade agreements. It is worth noting that the Mercosur is in talks for agreements of this sort with several Arab countries, and some such treaties have been signed, such as with Egypt. 

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani & Gabriel Pomerancblum

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