U.S. says no timeline to restore Brazil beef imports


UPDATE 1-U.S. says no timeline to restore Brazil beef imports

(Adds comments from Perdue, background)
    July 17 (Reuters) - Brazil needs to make progress on
inspections before any timeline can be set to end a U.S. ban on
imports of fresh Brazilian beef,  the U.S. agriculture secretary
said on Monday.
    Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and his Brazilian
counterpart Blairo Maggi met in Washington, D.C., on Monday to
discuss the ban that went into effect on June 22. The United
States has said a high percentage of beef shipments from Brazil
did not pass safety checks.
    In June, the United States blocked shipments of fresh
Brazilian beef and said it had found abscesses in the meat and
signs of systemic failure of inspections in meat from the
world's largest beef exporter.
    In March, some Brazilian meatpackers were hit with a scandal
involving alleged bribery of health officials, which briefly
shut Brazil's protein exports out of major global markets from
China to Europe.
    Brazilian cattle ranchers have said they believe the
abscesses were linked to foot-and-mouth vaccines used in Brazil,
the only country where foot-and-mouth disease can be found in
cattle that can sell to the United States because it uses
vaccinations. [nL1N1JK0J9]
    After the meeting, Brazil'sAgriculture Ministry released a
recording of Maggi's remarks in which he said the United States
could lift a ban on imports of fresh Brazilian beef in 30 to 60
days but the final decision would be made after analysis of
information presented by Brazil.
    Perdue said in a statement that Maggi had pressed for a
timeline for restoring imports of fresh Brazilian beef to the
United States, but he said any timeline would depend upon
progress being made by Brazil.
    Brazil had been selling fresh beef to the United States
since July 2016 when the countries signed an agreement ending 17
years of talks about such imports.
    Fresh beef shipments to the United States represent 3
percent of Brazil's beef exports and were worth $58.1 million
from January to June.

 (Reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington, Ana Mano in Sao
Paulo and Tom Polansek in Chicago; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
 ((ana.mano@thomsonreuters.com; Tel: +55-11-5644-7704; Mob:
+55-119-4470-4529; Reuters Messaging:


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