(Adds details from Maggi video, ministry statement, attempt to contact China state council)
BRASILIA, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping has authorized an increase in the number of Brazilian meatpacking plants permitted to export to China and professed a “love” for the country’s meat, Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said on Friday.
“I was very gratified to hear President Xi Jinping saying the following: ‘I like Brazil’s meat, I love Brazilian meat, I am a poster boy for Brazilian meat,’” Maggi said in a video posted on Twitter following a meeting with Xi.
He said the decision to allow exports from more meatpacking plants in the South American nation, which was roiled by a scandal over lax food health inspections earlier this year, was the result of numerous trips to China.
Maggi congratulated all those involved, but did not elaborate on terms of the agreement.
Brazil is among a few countries that run an overall trade surplus with China thanks to major exports of agriculture products, minerals and oil.
The country exported $1.75 billion worth of meat to China in 2016, with chicken and beef accounting for the overwhelming majority, according to a statement on the agriculture ministry’s website that repeated Maggi’s statements.
Calls to the information office of the State Council, China’s chief administrative authority, were not answered outside of working hours in Beijing. (Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Tom Brown)