July 24, 2018 / 8:29 PM / 5 months ago

U.S.-China trade rift favors Brazil: Minerva CEO

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The trade war between the United States and China is good for Brazil, chief executive of meatpacker Minerva SA (BEEF3.SA) said on Tuesday, as the rift opens up opportunities for net food exporters based in South America.

A shift in U.S. foreign trade policy will bring farm product suppliers in South America, where production costs are low, closer to prospective buyers, CEO Fernando Galletti de Queiroz said on the sidelines of the Global Agribusiness Forum in São Paulo.

“With the U.S. taking a harder stance on trade, there are opportunities for importers and producers of agricultural commodities in South America to have a more solid bridge,” he said. “The trade war is favorable for Brazil.”

During a presentation earlier in the conference, Queiroz had said China will import an estimated 1.2 million tonnes of beef this year, 23 percent more than in 2017, as demand for animal protein remains strong in Asia. Demand is also heating up in the Middle East, where meat consumption growth is estimated at 47 percent in 2018, he said.

Regarding trade embargoes, Queiroz said it is possible that Russia will lift its import ban on Brazil’s beef that it imposed last December, when Russia claimed traces of forbidden food additive ractopamine were found in shipments.

“Probably this year we will have good news in relation to Russia,” Queiroz said.

Reporting by Ana Mano; editing by Grant McCool and Marguerita Choy

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