On 30 June 2015 the US announced that it had ended its 15-year ban on importing Brazilian beef: a decision that prompted glee among Brazilian exporters, who said they hoped to capture 10 per cent of the lucrative US market in the near future. Until 2013, Brazil was the biggest exporter of beef in the world, and its imports to the EU and others mean that it is still ranked second globally.
The cost of this, as highlighted in Fern’s recent Stolen Goods report, is illegal deforestation on a staggering scale, as forests are cleared to rear cattle. Peer-reviewed studies have shown that 90 per cent of deforestation for beef and soy between 2000 and 2009 was illegal.
Nevertheless, the US lifting its ban on Brazilian beef might not be unmitigated bad news if reports in Climate Wireprove correct; their sources said that the lifting of the beef ban could be linked to new Brazilian commitments to end Amazon deforestation. Raphael Azeredo, head of Brazil’s delegation to the UN climate negotiations, would not confirm this to Climate Wire, stating: “At the stage that we’re in, we’re obviously elaborating the text [of the Brazil’s contribution to the Paris climate talks].”