Brazil’s president suspends move to import coffee

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Brazil’s President Michel Temer has suspended a measure that would have opened the door for the country to import large amounts of coffee for the first time

The president asked the ministries of agriculture and industry and commerce to study in greater depth whether it was necessary to incentivise imports of green robusta beans by cutting import taxes, writes Joe Leahy in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil’s soluble coffee industry had argued the imports were needed to cover a scarcity generated by three years of drought.

The president had been expected to sign off on the measure at a meeting of country’s highest committee on trade, Camex, on Wednesday.

The import of coffee, which would have come mainly from Vietnam, was bitterly opposed by politicians from the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo, which produces most of the country’s robusta stock.

“This is a giant victory,” said congressman Evair Vieira de Mello, a representative of Espírito Santo. He said producers would remain on the alert to prevent further attempts to introduce imports, which he argued would hurt small producers and bring exotic diseases.

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