SAO PAULO, Brazil – China lifted its import ban on beef produced in Brazil and approved shipments of beef from select processing plants owned by JBS SA, Marfrig SA and Minerva SA, the Brazilian beef exporter’s association Abiec, reported.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Li Kequiang, the prime minister of China, concluded trade agreements on May 19 that ended the ban which was established in December 2012. Back then, Brazil had confirmed the presence of proteins that cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy in a cow that had died two years previously. Brazil is the world's largest beef processor and exporter.

Brazilian plants approved for export to China include five from JBS, two from Marfrig and one from Minerva, according to Abiec. Export capacity from the plants is valued at $180 million. That figure is expected to grow to $520 million if the Chinese approve 17 additional establishments for meat and poultry exports.