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Asia has increased its role in exportations of the Brazilian agribusiness

Brazilian exportations of agricultural and livestock products have been rising since the year 2000. In a scenario of possible changes in the configurations of the international commerce, mainly led by the United States, knowing the importance of countries and regions as the main destinations for the Brazilian exportations is crucial.


From 2000 to 2016, the volume of the Brazilian agribusiness exportations increased a staggering 257%, meaning an increase of 8% annually. China plays an important role in the performance of the Brazilian agribusiness exportations, although the growing pace of shipments has slowed down. Between 2005 and 2016, the amount exported to China increased a staggering 577%; from 2011 to 2016, 27%, while between 2015 and 2016, they dropped 2%.


China usually buys soybean products and in 2016, soybean accounted for 74% (revenue in dollar) of all Chinese purchases of the Brazilian products. Forest products had a share of 9.8%, poultry and swine, 4.6%, sugar, 3%, and cattle, 5.5% of the total.


Despite a slower pace, an increase in the volume of commercial trades with China would be very relevant, since China has a big purchase potential with the reopening of the market for new products. For example, right after resuming purchases of the Brazilian beef in mid-2015, China was ranked as the second largest purchaser of the domestic product in 2016.


Trades with China are keeping the Asian continent (except for the Middle East) as the main destination for the Brazilian agribusiness exportations. Brazil exports mainly sugar, forest products, broiler, swine and beef to that continent. Recently, India has been an important commercial partner of Brazil as well. In 2016, the two main products exported to that country were sugar (59%) and soy oil (25%).


Countries from the European Union represent the second largest destination for the Brazilian agribusiness exportations, despite reductions of their share in the total importations in the last 17 years, purchasing mainly cereal (soybean), forest products, coffee, fruits and beef.


The United States also plays an important role in the Brazilian agribusiness exportations, although its share in the Brazilian shipments has decreased in the last 17 years. The scope of importations of the United Stater are more varied, including mainly forest products, coffee, ethanol and tobacco.


Middle Eastern countries, in turn, have purchased mainly broiler and swine, sugar, cereal (including soybean) and beef. The volume of products allocated to the Middle East has increased by nine-fold in the last 17 years. Between 2015 and 2016, the amount exported to the ME increased 15%.


Considering the countries from Latin America, the volume that Brazil shipped doubled in that period. Currently, the potential of Mexico importations has been considered important for Brazil, mainly corn, meat and rice. Considering only the countries from South America, however, exportations have increased less: 58%.


In summary, the evolution of the international trades of agribusiness products in the last years show that sales have increased significantly to Asia and Middle Eastern countries that do not belong to the Asian continent. Among the South-American countries, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay have reduced their share in the importations of Brazilian agribusiness products. North-American countries, however, mainly the United States, have increased their purchases (in volume), but their share has reduced in the total Brazilian exportations.


Countries with average or low income have been purchasing mainly sugar, broiler, swine and by-products from soybean. Countries with higher income, however, have more varied purchases, such as forest products, coffee and fruits. If Brazil aims for the mid and long-terms to trade with higher-income commercial partners (sales of higher added value), the country needs to meet requirements regarding sanitary, environmental and quality issues. This is one of the main challenges to keep the viability and sustainability of the Brazilian agribusiness and that are supported by the behavior of exportations.


In light of the new scenario for international trades, Brazil will need to make an effort toward bilateral trades. Thus, identifying windows of opportunities is important to increase sales, considering both products and requirements of Brazilian commercial partners.


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