Brazil has the second largest cattle herd in the world, being surpassed only by India, which does not use cattle for commercial purposes. With the largest commercial herd in the world, Brazil is the largest exporter of meat in tons, however, it still has production rates (slaughter and calf production) below its largest competitors. Australia is the world's largest exporter of beef in financial value.

Data regarding global import of beef shows a trend of stability or even reduction in some countries, but increase in the others. The United States is the largest importer of beef with a large advantage and, over second place, Japan. Russia is the largest importer of Brazilian beef, both in terms of import volume and financial value.

Beef consumption has been increasing in Asian countries (China and Japan), the United States and Mexico; Remains stable in Australia and Europe; And falls in Brazil, Canada, Russia and Ukraine. Despite the drop in consumption in some countries, account should be taken of population growth and the consequent increase in total beef demand on the world market.

In this scenario, Brazil has total conditions to maintain global hegemony in the beef export (currently accounts for a quarter of total world exports).

Due to its advantages in relation to horizontal expansion (growth in unexploited lands) and vertical expansion (productivity increase), Brazil has to improve the aspects of health security and certification of origin quality (traceability) of the herd. The implementation of measures to control, combat and / or eradicate diseases such as BSE, foot-and-mouth disease, brucellosis, tuberculosis must be effective and immediate so that it can not become a political and economic problem.

The global beef market is looking for products related to correct environmental management, animal welfare, certification of origin and social responsibility, and these are therefore the new trade barriers. Standards of good production practices and environmental management will be the new trend in food production in the world.

The main beef contracts are traded on the São Paulo Mercantile and Futures Exchange (BM & F), the Chicago Commodities Exchange (CME) and the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

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