President Lula of Brazil will travel to Beijing on May 18, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced, in a visit that is expected to include a bilateral trade proposal and a discussion of Brazil's meat exports to China.

Twenty-four Brazilian companies –  including Sadia and Perdigão – have received permission to export fresh chicken meat to China, according to Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture. However, China Custom Statistics show that, as of March of this year, no Brazilian fresh chicken meat has yet been exported to China.

"China still has not opened its poultry market to Brazil," Huang Haiqian, a spokesman at Beijing-based China Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce & Animal By-Products, told Poultry International.

"It takes time to go through the whole application process," added Huang.

However, there might be competitive considerations as well. "A major reason to block Brazilian exports is weak domestic demand," said Guo Huiyong, an analyst at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Ltd.

"Brazilian exporters do not have any price advantage, due mainly to high logistics costs and falling domestic prices," Guo added.

China’s chicken prices decreased to about 14 yuan/kg in late April 2009, a drop of 4% compared to the same period last year, according to Beijing-based China Animal Agriculture Association.