New EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel will meet trade officials in Brazil in February to discuss links between Europe and South America.
British producers concerned about increased red and poultry meat imports from the region fear the talks will pave the way for relaxed import restrictions.
However, a spokesman for Fischer Boel, who is a farmer herself, said the commissioner was sympathetic to European producers’ concerns: “There is no way the EC is just going to negotiate away all preferences for EU farmers. Europe cannot compete with Brazil on price but we are not going to open the market up to rubbish.”