More than a quarter of Brazil’s exports to the Middle East and Turkey are meat. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
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A proposal by Brazil's next president to relocate its embassy in Israel, following U.S. President Donald Trump's lead, may set off a diplomatic storm in the Muslim world, threatening a key market for the world's largest meat companies. Brazil is by far the world's largest exporter of halal meat, which complies with Muslim dietary rules. Brazil exports $16 billion annually to the Middle East and Turkey, with just 3 percent going to Israel, according to government statistics.Both Brazil's JBS SA, the world's top beef producer, and BRF SA, the No. 1 poultry exporter, have bet big on the growing demand for halal meat.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Bolsonaro for the plan to move Brazil's embassy, calling him a "friend".Monday, Egypt called off the visit by Brazil's top diplomat and executives just days before they were meant to arrive, which two diplomatic sources said was a direct response to Bolsonaro's proposal to move the embassy.Halal chicken represented nearly half of Brazil's overall chicken exports of $7.1 billion last year, according to Brazil meatpacking group ABPA.
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