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Saudi Arabia suspends Brazil meatpackers; JBS and BRF affected

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The measure, which the paper says was communicated to the Brazilian government by the Saudis, affected the units of listed Brazilian food processors JBS SA and BRF SA

[SAO PAULO] Saudi Arabia, one of the largest buyers of Brazilian chicken exports, has revoked the certification of five meatpacking plants operating in the South American country, according to a report by newspaper Folha de S Paulo on Tuesday.

The measure, which the paper says was communicated to the Brazilian government by the Saudis, affected the units of listed Brazilian food processors JBS SA and BRF SA

According to Folha, the move could be linked to the Brazilian government's intention to move Brazil's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture did not have an immediate comment.

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BRF, whose shares fell by almost 2 per cent on the news in late morning trading, could not comment immediately. JBS deferred comments to meat lobby group ABPA.

ABPA, an association of Brazilian chicken and pork producers, could not confirm whether the certification of the meat plants had been revoked.

In 2018, Saudi Arabia was Brazil's top buyer of chicken fresh and processed products, an ABPA spokesman said.

ABPA data shows the Saudi's imported 433,500 tonnes of chicken products from Brazil, or about 11.8 per cent of all sales. China was a close second, importing around 400,900 tonnes of fresh chicken and other chicken products, corresponding to 10.9 per cent of total sales, according to the data.

On Monday, China's Ministry of Commerce accepted an offer made by Brazilian chicken exporters to end a dumping investigation.

REUTERS