On Dec. 1, Russia halted imports of Brazilian pork and beef due to findings of ractopamine residues in some meat shipments from Brazil. The suspension has now lasted more than three months, impacting meat trade not only in Russia, but also in other countries where Brazilian exporters are looking to offset the loss of the Russian market.
In the attached audio report, Yuri Barutkin, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) representative in Europe and Russia, notes that Brazil had been Russia’s dominant pork supplier, capturing about 90 percent of the imported pork market. This was due in large part to the fact that pork from the European Union, the United States and Canada has been absent from the Russian market for several years due to economic counter-sanctions and other trade barriers. Russia is a critical destination for Brazilian pork, as it was taking about 40 percent of Brazil’s total pork exports at the time of the suspension. Since the Russian market closed, larger volumes of Brazilian pork have been shipped to Hong Kong and China.
Brazil held about one-third of Russia’s imported beef market at the time of the suspension, with Russia also accepting imports from Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Belarus. But Barutkin explains that because Russia has a lower level of self-sufficiency in beef production, the absence of Brazilian beef is impacting Russia’s processing industry. At the time of the suspension, Russia was taking about 10 percent of Brazil’s total beef exports. The largest export markets for Brazilian beef are Hong Kong, China, Egypt and Iran.