May 23 (Reuters) - Tyson Foods Inc TSN.N is in talks to set up a beef processing plant in Kazakhstan, as part of the central Asian country's push to attract investment by projecting itself as an agricultural powerhouse on China's border, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing three people with knowledge of the discussions.
The multibillion-dollar investment would allow the U.S. meat company to dodge high tariffs on American agricultural goods and give a backdoor access into China, FT said.
The largest U.S. meat processor, Tyson had discussed an initial investment of about $200 million in the Kazakh plant which would form part of a potential total investment of several billion dollars. The deal is expected to scale up production to 5 million tonnes of beef a year, FT said.
Earlier this month Tyson had projected its U.S. pork, chicken and beef units could all benefit from increased demand linked to outbreaks of African swine fever which spread rapidly across Asia.
The disease, which is fatal to pigs but harmless to humans, had been detected in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Africa and parts of Europe.
Tyson Foods was not immediately available for a comment on the report.
(Reporting by Rishika Chatterjee in Bengaluru; editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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