Brazil wants to break into the U.S. market by supplying pre-cooked products.

Brazil already has informally requested access to the U.S. market for pre-cooked poultry products and plans to hand over the official paperwork by March, Erwin Klabunde, chief of staff at the Brazilian Agriculture Ministry, told Dow Jones Newswires.

Klabunde said USDA officials soon will travel to Brazil to help complete the documentation necessary to start the application and approval process.

Cooked products are just the first first phase in Brazil's plan to eventually carve out a larger market share of the U.S. poultry market, which is now almost exclusively supplied by domestic producers.

The plan, according to s spokesman for the Brazilian Chicken Exporters Association, is to apply for access to the processed-chicken market as a prelude to an application to export raw chicken.

An official with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said Brazil's plan to start with pre-cooked poultry makes sense because "it is an easier product to get approved" than raw poultry.

Klabunde said he expects the process for approving Brazilian exports to be quick because Canada has already accepted Brazilian poultry, but a U.S. industry representative said that is a false hope.

Richard Lobb, a spokesman for the U.S.-based National Chicken Council, said "I have no idea why Canada's action would have any influence on USDA. I don't think the U.S. government is in the habit of following Canada's lead on anything." Lobb predicted the process would take quite some time, as it does for all other countries seeking to enter the U.S. poultry market.

After the official application paperwork is completed, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service will conduct intensive reviews and audits of Brazil's poultry safety regulations, Lobb said. If Brazil is still eligible after that, USDA would begin the federal rule-making process that can take years.