Brazil's Lula Invites Japan's Kishida to Eat His Country's Meat in a Push for Beef Exports

Brazilian President Lula da Silva met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss opening Japan's market to Brazilian beef exports. The leaders also agreed on cooperation in environmental initiatives, cybersecurity, and investment promotion.

Nimrah Khatoon
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Brazil's Lula Pushes for Beef Exports in Meeting with Japan's Kishida

Brazil's Lula Pushes for Beef Exports in Meeting with Japan's Kishida

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to Brasilia on Friday, with a key focus on pushing for Japan to open its markets to Brazilian beef exports. Brazil has been pursuing this goal since 2005, and Lula emphasized the importance of the issue, even playfully inviting Kishida to dine at a Brazilian steakhouse during his visit.

The meeting comes at an opportune time for Brazil's beef industry, as 50 countries have lifted restrictions on importing Brazilian beef since 2023, mostly in Asia. As the world's largest beef exporter, Brazil ships to over 90 countries and barely broke its export record in 2023 with more than 2 million pounds of beef exported.

Japan is a significant potential market for Brazilian beef, as it imports 70% of its beef consumption, with 80% coming from the U.S. and Australia. Lula made a strong pitch to Kishida, stating, "Our meat is cheaper and of better quality than the meat you buy. I don't even know the price, but I'm sure ours is cheaper and of extreme quality." He even joked, "I don't know what you had for dinner last night... Please, take Prime Minister Fumio to eat steak at the best restaurant in Sao Paulo so that, the following week, he starts importing our beef."

Why this matters: The potential opening of Japan's market to Brazilian beef exports could have significant implications for global trade and the economies of both countries. It could also lead to increased competition in the global beef market, potentially affecting prices and trade dynamics.

In addition to beef exports, the leaders discussed cooperation on environmental initiatives. Japan agreed to support restoration efforts in Brazil's degraded Cerrado areas and contributed $3 million to Brazil's Amazon rainforest protection fund. Agreements were also reached in areas such as cybersecurity and investment promotion, with Kishida noting, "There is great potential in bilateral cooperation to address global challenges."

Brazil and Japan share deep cultural ties, with Brazil being home to the world's largest Japanese community outside Japan, numbering over 2.7 million. Kishida expressed solidarity with the victims of recent devastating floods in Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul state, which has claimed 37 lives as of Friday morning.

Following the meeting in Brasilia, Prime Minister Kishida is set to travel to Asuncion, Paraguay, before returning to Brazil to meet with the Japanese community in Sao Paulo, deliver a speech at the University of Sao Paulo, and attend a business meeting. The visit underscores the strong bilateral relationship between Brazil and Japan, with President Lula's push for beef exports taking center stage in the discussions.

Key Takeaways

  • Brazil's President Lula meets with Japan's PM Kishida to discuss beef exports.
  • Opening Japan's market could impact global trade and economies.
  • Brazil is the world's largest beef exporter, shipping to over 90 countries.
  • Japan imports 70% of its beef, with 80% coming from the US and Australia.
  • Lula and Kishida also discussed environmental initiatives and bilateral cooperation.