Chinese Beef Demand Boosts Brazilian Imports

Chinese beef sales have helped Brazilian exports soar to record levels, causing concerns about the environmental cost of production.

Brazil supplied China with 43% of its meat imports in 2020 according to data collected by consultant firm Safras and Mercado. Further data showed that exports of meat from Brazil to China rose by a staggering 76% last year.

China likely sources its meat from Brazil because it is “among the cheapest in the world” according to Thiago de Carvalho, professor of agribuisness at the University of Sao Paulo, in an interview with the Guardian.

Exports of meat to China are expected to increase this year, following an outbreak of African swine fever in their domestic supply of pork.

Researchers in Europe have noted the impact of China’s meat demands on the environment, particularly the Brazilian portion of the Amazon rain forest. Meat goods out of the region accounted for one fifth of China’s imports, but China’s increased demand could potentially “account for half of the deforestation risk” should demand continue to increase.

There has been no word out of China on the implications of these findings, but President Xi Jinping has said that China would work to be carbon neutral by the year 2060.


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