BRASILIA (Reuters) - The Brazilian government expects to resume beef exports to China in the next few days and is planning to request a revision of the protocol that triggered the ban after it discovered a case of mad cow disease, a government official said on Tuesday.
The plan to revise protocols comes a few weeks after Brazil found a case of mad cow disease in the northern state of Para, sparking a self-imposed ban on beef exports to China, in compliance with a bilateral sanitary agreement signed in 2015.
Last week, a Brazilian case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy was dubbed 'atypical' after tests conducted by the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH).
China "may have some questions, but the expectation is that they will give an answer (about ending the ban) tomorrow or the day after," Carlos Ernesto Agustin, special advisor to the ministry of agriculture, told Reuters.
The suspension of beef exports to China is a major upset for Brazilian meatpackers, which have to use other plants in South America to send product to the Asian country.
"We will talk in the future and try to change the protocol. There is no need to be so extensive," Agustin said.
An alternative would be, for example, to place under embargo exports of meat coming from the state or region where the case of the disease was registered, not a countrywide ban, he explained.
(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Editing by Andrea Ricci)