Ricardo Santin, markets director for the Brazilian Poultry Association (UBAEF), told delegates at Packforum in Paris last week, that trade between South America and Europe needed to increase, otherwise countries like Brazil would shift focus to alternate markets such as Africa and the Middle East.
The warning comes as the European Commission aims to re-open trade talks with the Mercosur countries of South America, consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. The move has been criticised by farming unions in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Santin said: "We need to start making more trade between our countries. We supply your industry and now Africa is becoming more important in Brazil, because we sell the same volume to Europe and Africa. And in the future, when you don't have more propensity to improve your production, maybe we won't have poultry meat to sell to your industry."
He added: "Brazil is not damaging your local production. Brazil supplies your industry to produce processed meat here and your production goes to the other countries with a subsidy of $300, as the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) allows it."
The UBABEF markets director revealed that 496,401 tonnes of poultry meat was exported to Saudi Arabia in 2009, while 495,125 tonnes was sold in the same period to EU countries. Only 33% of Brazilian poultry meat is exported.