MercoPress | 18 March 2019
US wheat and Brazilian fresh beef included in agriculture talks in Washington
Brazil is considering granting an import quota of 750,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat per year without tariffs in exchange for other trade concessions, according to Brazilian officials. That is about 10% of Brazilian annual wheat imports and is part of a two-decade-old commitment to import 750,000 metric tons of wheat a year free of tariffs that Brazil made — but never kept — during the World Trade Organization’s Uruguay Round of talks on agriculture.
Bolsonaro arrived on Sunday to Washington and is scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump at the White House on Tuesday.
Senators from US farm state have asked that wheat sales be on the agenda, in a letter to Trump. They estimate such a quota would increase U.S. wheat sales by between US$ 75 million and US$ 120 million a year.
Brazil buys most of its imported wheat from Argentina, and some from Uruguay and Paraguay, without paying tariffs because they are all members of Mercosur. Imports from other countries pay a 10% tariff.
Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Teresa Cristina Dias and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue are scheduled to meet on Tuesdays. In return, the Brazilian government is hoping to see movement toward the reopening of the U.S. market to fresh beef imports from Brazil that was shut down after a meatpacking industry scandal involving bribed inspectors.
Brazil is also seeking U.S. market access for its exports of limes that are facing phytosanitary certification hurdles.
The world’s largest sugar producer also wants tariff-free access to the U.S. market. But Washington is not expected to budge on that issue until Brazil lifts a tariff it slapped on ethanol imports when they exceed 150 million liters in a quarter.
That is a major demand by U.S. biofuels producers, who are the main suppliers of ethanol imported by Brazil.