September 2023 – The Interstate Tobacco Industry Union (SindiTabaco), on Thursday September 28, hosted a meeting to formalize the closure of the pre-shipment inspection procedure of Brazilian tobacco, 2022/23 crop year, a requirement by the Brazil-China bilateral trade protocol. The meeting was held in hybrid format, virtually attended by the technicians from The General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC).
The meeting was held at the Head Office of the Union in Santa Cruz do Sul (RS), and was attended by the following people: Head of the Special Export Programs Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (Mapa), Caio César Simão; superintendent of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply in Rio Grande do Sul, José Cleber de Souza; SindiTabaco president Iro Schünke; Head of Mapa’s Agro-Defense Division in Rio Grande do Sul, Jairo Carbonari; Head of Mapa’s RS Plant Surveillance Inspection Division, Roque Danieli; president of China Tabaco Internacional do Brasil (CTIB), Zhou Xinghua; technician responsible for the Central Analytical Laboratory of the University of Santa Cruz do Sul (UNISC), Adriana Dupont Schneider; as well as representatives from companies that supply tobacco to China.
SindiTabaco president Iro Schünke greeted the attendees to the meeting and reinforced the importance of China for the Brazilian tobacco sector. “China has been one of our largest importers for years now. Brazil has exported 500 thousand metric tons of tobacco, on average, per year, and China has always been one of the main destinations. This is significantly due to the work carried out by the entities attending this meeting and, in particular, the participation of the MAPA, always very efficient and effective. We are thankful to the CTIB for intermediating this important work, as well as to the UNISC, and, in particular, to all GACC representatives. This is the first time we meet, though online, to exchange this kind of information. SindiTabaco acts as a facilitator in the intermediation between the companies and these entities, and we are happy to come to the end of one more pre-inspection with good results. The expectation is for us to make progress in our businesses with China”, Schünke stressed.
“China is one our largest trading partners. In 2022, transactions amounted to upwards of US$ 150 billion. In the tobacco sector, shipments to China started in 2005. From 2008 onwards, monitoring procedures started and in 2010 we formalized the protocol that has been strengthening the tobacco trade between the two countries, with the involvement of the public and private sectors with the aim to send to that country a product of phytosanitary quality. The sector sets an example towards conducting this program and has always managed to demonstrate the traceability of the product and the process. From field to the tobacco box that is exported, it is possible to trace back the product to its origin in case a non-conformity is detected, something that has never happened over all these years of the protocol”, commented Caio César Simão, Head of the Special Exports Program Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, in Brasília.
José Cleber de Souza, superintendent at MAPA RS, reinforced the importance of keeping a close watch on the market. “China is a relevant partner, just like tobacco, a product that occupies a prominent position in the scenario of Rio Grande do Sul. The superintendence is always ready to provide all necessary support to the maintenance and expansion of the markets. My participation consists in representing this commitment, which is also shared by minister Carlos Fávaro and by the government, thus acknowledging this really relevant activity”, he commented.
Similar to what has happened over the past years, in an agreement with the GACC, the MAPA became responsible for collecting samples of processed tobacco and send them to the Analytical Center of the University of Santa Cruz do Sul (UNISC) for laboratory tests that attest to the phytosanitary status of the product prior to shipment. Roque Danieli, tax auditor and Head of Inputs and Plant Health Inspection Services, a division of the MAPA in RS, commented on the pre-inspection steps.
“During these three weeks, all GACC representatives, in virtual format, had a chance to keep a close watch on the implementation of the protocol. We hope that the presentation of the works will keep you satisfied and we thank the companies for their efforts towards the monitoring procedures, thus ensuring a product free of all pests set forth in the protocol. We also evaluated the use of pesticides and best agricultural practices, and we did not detect any non-conformity in the inspections carried out at field level, a direct result from the Integrated Production System and constant efforts in keeping all company technicians updated. We hope for the approval of these six last batches, and next week we will forward the final report. We recommend the continuity of this joint work in order to keep this important trading partnership”, Danieli commented.
Preliminary report sounds positive
The technician responsible for the Laboratory of UNISC’s Anaytical Center, professor Adriana Dupont Schneider, gave details about the analyses carried out to date. “This year we will have a total of 53 batches analyzed, 47 of them already approved and the other six will be evaluated after the meeting. The samples come from eight companies and all the results were negative relative to the pests that are a part of the agreement between China and Brazil”, she declared. According to her, the aim consisted in analyzing and attesting to the phytosanitary status of the tobacco with regard to the nine pests set forth in the protocol: six insects [of which four are strains of beetles, and two, flea beetle strains], two types of sorghum [weeds] and, finally, blue mold. “In all, it took 17 days of investigation and each sample was thoroughly analyzed, thus generating a trial report. As to blue mold, it was particularly focused on, seeing that it is the pathogen that is the biggest concern of the Chinese government. All samples analyzed up to now had negative results. These results attest to and ensure the phytosanity quality of the Brazilian tobacco to be exported to China. I have followed this monitoring service for years and we have evolved a lot in this partnership, which reflects on the confidence between the two countries and consequent increase in the volume shipped to that country”, she stressed in her evaluation.
The GACC representative commented that the final result of the pre-inspection will depend on the conclusion of the analysis of the last samples. On his part, the president of the CTIB, Zhou Xinghua, expressed confidence in the results and is eager to see the works concluded in the shortest time possible. “We started this work in early September and concluded it today, with the final inspection. We thank all persons involved in this work and we hope it will be possible to conclude the report as soon as possible, thus making it possible to start the shipments”, Xinghua concluded.
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