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BRASILIA – South Korea will accept pork products from four pork processors in the state of Santa Catarina in Brazil, Blairo Maggi, the Minister of Agriculture for Brazil recently announced.

Local news reports state that Seara, a unit of JBS S.A., will ship 50 tons of pork products to South Korea in the next few days.

Maggi said the country was declared free of foot-and-mouth disease, and he expects products from other Brazilian states will soon be able to enter the Korean market. South Korea represents a market of $1.5 billion a year. The pork industry in Brazil expects annual exports to reach more than 30,000 tons of pork to South Korea.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Farming said negotiations with South Korea for the export of pork began in September 2016, when Maggi visited the country. Negotiations continued in February of this year with a trade mission led by Executive Secretary Eumar Novacki.

South Korea was the world’s third largest importer of the product, behind only Japan and China, with import of 489.5 tons valued at $1.53 billion in 2017, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Farming. Exports of pork from Brazil in 2017 were 592,600 tons with a value of $1.47 billion, the agency noted.