Cheyenne McEndaffer, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) technical services manager, explains that U.S. beef has not been accepted by Brazil since the December 2003 BSE case. Until recently, Brazil’s beef exports to the United States had been limited to cooked and processed products, due to foot-and-mouth disease concerns. In August, the two countries announced that they would resume trade for fresh and frozen beef cuts.

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Brazil shipped small volumes of frozen beef to the United States in September, October and November – a combined total of about 500 metric tons – but U.S. exports to Brazil have yet to resume. This is due to additional regulatory obstacles, including a label registration requirement and the need for U.S. slaughter plants to be relisted as eligible for Brazil. But these steps are now nearing completion, and initial shipments of U.S. beef should reach Brazil in early 2017.

McEndaffer adds that while Brazil is one of the world’s largest beef-producing and beef-exporting countries, there are definitely opportunities for certain U.S. beef cuts in the Brazilian market. The picanha (pronounced pick-ahn-ya) – which is more commonly known in the U.S. as the sirloin cap or coulotte – is very popular in Brazil and buyers are excited to gain access to the U.S. version of this cut. Brazil could also be a strong market for U.S. beef livers, and she expects to see demand for U.S. short ribs, chuck flaps, tri-tips, striploins, skirts and chuck eye rolls as well.