Trade between Brazil and China surpassed the 2020 record during the first nine months of this year, with overall exchange reaching US$ 100bn. Total 2021 bilateral trade is expected to reach US$ 108bn.
In the January/September period, the surplus of Brazil in trade with China reached US$ 37,608bn compared to the US$ 37,010bn surpluses for the whole twelve months of last year. China's participation in Brazil's overall trade (exports plus imports) is close to 65%, making her the main partner of the South American giant.
However, SECEX, Brazil's foreign trade secretariat, points out the ongoing concern that the share of manufactured goods sent to China is minimum and exports rely heavily on concentrated basic commodities with virtually no added value such as grains, oilseeds, iron ore and different meats.
Brazilian exports to its main trading partner increased 7% compared to the previous year and totalled US$ 67.788 billion. This year, growth was more robust, taking exports to the level of US$ 71.618 billion. Consequently, China's share of Brazilian exports rose from 32.4% in 2020 to 34.1% during the first nine months of this year.
All this even though China has yet to reopen its market to Brazilian beef, which has been suspended for over six weeks since two atypical cases of the mad cow were reported in Matto Grosso and Minas Gerais, early September. The Chinese beef market last year represented some US$ 4bn, and in the first seven months of this year reached almost half a million tons and US$ 2,5bn.
Nevertheless, the Brazilian meatpacking industry is concerned that Beijing is taking so long to reopen its market. There is speculation that China might be forcing a drop in international beef prices, since it is believed to continue to be supplied via the so-called grey channel, through Hong Kong and Vietnam.