Speaking last week at two major events, Brazil's Minister of Agriculture & Food Supply Marcus Vinicius Pratini De Moraes stressed that the future is bright for Brazil in terms of meat and grain production.

Brazil is set to become "the world's biggest producer and exporter of meat", said the minister during a luncheon speech to the Brazil-US Business Council, adding that the country will be re-classified as FMD-free within the next three months.

Furthermore, he stressed, "in 10-12 years we could be the biggest agricultural producer in the world" as Brazil has the potential to bring 90m hectares of new land into production "without cutting down a single tree".

Pratini de Moraes also urged the importance of open markets between the US and Brazil, together with support for the Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement. "We have been talking about free trade," he explained: "But what we see in practice is that free trade is only when we import. When we export, there is no free trade."

At a briefing to reporters earlier on the same day, Pratini de Moraes explained that Brazil wants broad agreement from the current World Trade Organization (WTO) agricultural negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland, before it will move to a new WTO round of multi-sectoral negotiations.

"We consider it absolutely fundamental that any trade discussions at WTO level or all other levels - including bilateral levels - be proceeded by extensive agricultural negotiations," he said: "We are very concerned the way trade negotiations in agriculture are proceeding. The position of Brazil is very clear: If there are no important negotiations in agriculture, we don't see a reason for any round at all."