SÃO PAULO — Brazilian grain exporters should not give China the guarantees it requested that their cargoes are free of the novel coronavirus, as that would require extensive testing, according to ANEC, an association representing local grain traders.

The exporters’ response to the Chinese request will emphasize that there is no evidence the coronavirus can be transmitted by food, Marcos Amorim, director of ANEC’s contract committee, said during a webinar hosted by law firm Mattos Engelberg on Thursday.

ANEC’s members include Cargill and China’s Cofco, as well as many of the world’s major agricultural commodity traders.

China is the world’s top soybean buyer and is expected to import about 94 million tons in the 2019/20 crop year, mostly from Brazil and the United States.

Imported soybeans are crushed to produce soymeal to feed livestock.

“Anec is preparing a letter for associates to respond in an equal manner. Preferably, we would like the declaration… not to be signed (by the exporters here),” Mr. Amorim said, referring to a Chinese document in which exporters would say their cargos are COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) free.

As for exporters declaring they comply with Chinese laws, ANEC recommends against doing so.

“The Brazilian exporter cannot declare this because they do not know (Chinese laws])” he added. “Even the largest companies do not know.” — Reuters