Brazil is considering approaching the World Trade Organization with complaints that EU laws are discriminating against poultry exporters to the region.
The complaint, reported by anonymous trade sources to US Department of Agriculture officials in Brasilia, would be the latest in a series of WTO actions bought by Brazil.
The main issue at dispute is what poultry counts as “fresh” – with rules introduced last May preventing this label being applied to meat that has previously been frozen.
The EU’s executive Commission says thawed meat may not be used to make “fresh” ready meals because that would mislead European consumers. Instead, such meals must be sold as frozen. Brazil says the new rules discriminate against non-EU producers, who usually freeze chicken meat for transportation.
An EU official played down Brazil’s threat by saying “to date the Brazilian authorities have not indicated to the Commission their intent to request consultations”.
“We are waiting for the economic data from the private sector. They have to show us there has been a negative impact for them,” a Brazilian trade diplomat in Brussels said.
Brazil’s broiler meat exports to the EU fell by 9.6% to 282,000 tonnes last year, demoting the region to fourth place among buyers, behind Saudi Arabia, Japan and Hong Kong.