A new agreement to facilitate exports from the Brazilian agribusiness sector to China has been described by market experts in Sao Paulo as crucial to inaugurating the “biggest era of market openness in the last ten years” between the two countries.
Agronomist Helen Jacintho said that with the new agreement, China is opening up its market for products such as soybean meal (a long standing resquest from Brazil), concentrated soy protein, corn, peanuts, and citrus pulp.
“Excellent news, which consolidate our position as a trustworthy global food producer,” wrote Jacintho in Forbes magazine.
According to Ricardo Arioli, president of the National Commission for Cereals, Fibers, and Oilseeds from CNA (Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil), the agreement contemplates products of great interest to Brazil in terms of output and export capacity, plus givng priority to other second-line produce, such as corn, sorghum, and sesame.
Protocols were discussed at a meeting between officials of China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture to reduce bureaucracy in industry inspection procedures and customs clearance.
Initially, the Brazilian agribusiness sector was expecting authorization to export these products to China only in 2023, after closing a health protocol agreements: but instead of sending personnel to check the production units in South America, the Chinese authorized officials from Mapa (Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply) to carry out the inspections, considerably facilitating the process.
In 2021, Brazil exported US$41 billion to China (34% of total agriculture sales), making Brazil, China’s largest supplier of agriculture produce, accounting for some 20% of Beijing's imports.
However according to Ligia Dutra, CNA director of International Relations, Brazil needs new trade agreements and to diversify agriculture exports to be more competitive in the international market. According to Dutra, Brazil, despite a major agriculture producer, still has limited access to markets.
“Without trade agreements, we ended up centering our export strategies on commodities, unable to capitalize on other foreign market prospects that could benefit goods with higher added value,” Dutra explained.
“We need to enter new trade agreements to add value to exports and shield our country from the harsh international trade circumstances. In addition, trade agreements introduce our country to new opportunities and challenges, developing new venues, ensuring stability and security to farmers, avoiding scenarios such as market closures, factory exclusions and other sorts of friction,” Jacintho argues.