SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with WH Group Ltd., parent company of Smithfield Foods Inc., to export 3 billion reais ($717.26 million) of beef and poultry to the Chinese market. 

JBS said the first shipments for the partnership will begin during the first quarter of 2020.

“This agreement reflects the maturity and evolution of our trade relations with China,” said Renato Costa, CEO of JBS’ Friboi beef division. “We have seen changes in the Chinese consumer profile regarding protein consumption and a growing concern for food quality, product traceability and enhanced food safety. To meet this demand, we have developed on the ground teams and dedicated partnerships and projects in China.”

Along with growing its presence in China, JBS said the partnership will give the company direct access to 60,000 WH Group points of sale in the country.

Costa said it will be an opportunity to evolve JBS’ supply chain in a model of an “unprecedented” deal for the company.