China will impose temporary anti-dumping measures on imports of Brazilian chicken meat, it said this week, at the same time as the US pressures Beijing to reopen its market to American poultry products.
Chinese importers of Brazilian chicken will be required to pay deposits ranging from 18.8pc to 38.4pc of the value of their shipments from June 9, the commerce ministry said in a statement.
A preliminary ruling from the ministry found that Chinese producers had been “substantially damaged” by shipments from Brazil between 2013 and 2016, when the country supplied more than half of China’s imports of chicken meat.
The anti-dumping measures are another blow to Brazilian meatpackers, who are still recovering from a food safety scandal last year and a May truckers’ protest that forced farms to cull some 70m chickens due to a lack of feed.
They also show how third-party countries like Brazil, the world’s largest chicken exporter, could become collateral damage as the United States and China look for ways to head off a trade war.
Although the Chinese government calls the measures “deposits”, which in theory could be returned in the future, a source in the Brazilian meat industry, who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said that in practice nobody ever manages to get them back.
The Brazilian government said it regretted the measures, adding it had followed the anti-dumping investigation all along and found no basis for the Chinese move. In a statement, it said it hopes China will scrap the provisional punitive measures once the probe is finished.
Shares of Brazil’s BRF SA, the world’s biggest chicken exporter, closed 7.5pc lower at 21.50 reais.
the China Poultry Association, declined to comment on the news. An official at the China Animal Agriculture Association also declined to comment.
It is not clear what will happen to shipments in transit on the way to China.
An anti-dumping deposit levied on sorghum from the US in April caused chaos in the grains trade, with dozens of cargoes stranded as importers tried to resell to other markets to avoid paying the tariffs.