Brazilian and Dutch agricultural trade relations

conselheiro agrícola paul van de logtPaul van de Logt

Brazil is an important source of soybean, orange juice, meat and fruit for the Netherlands and Europe. Total export value to the Netherlands was US$3.5 billion in 2020.

Even with territorial limitations, the Netherlands is an agribusiness powerhouse: the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world, only behind the United States. The country is an important supplier to Brazil of propagation material (horticulture and flowers), animal feed and dairy products, with a total value of US$ 254 million in 2020.

AgriBrasilis interviewed Paul van de Logt, Agricultural Councilor of Brazil at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in Brasília, on bilateral relations between the countries, with a focus on agriculture.

A graduate in economics from Radboud University, Logt was director of food and nutrition security for the Dutch foreign ministry, as well as first secretary for economic affairs at the Dutch embassy in Beijing, China.

AgriBrasilis – What is the importance of the trade relationship between Brazil-Netherlands in relation to agribusiness?

Paul van de Logt – The Netherlands and Brazil both have a robust agricultural sector with substantial exports. This makes it a natural point of cooperation between the two countries, in commercial, academic, social and environmental areas. Agriculture and trade are a corner stone of what binds our two countries economically.

Brazil is an important source for the Netherlands and Europe of soybean, orange juice, meat and fruits, among others. The total value of exports to the Netherlands was USD 3.5 billion in 2020.

Looking at commercial flows in the opposite direction, The Netherlands is an important supplier to Brazil: of propagation material (horticulture and flowers), animal feed and dairy products, with a total value of USD 254 million in 2020.

Through trade and cooperation, the Netherlands could play a role in food processing and agro logistics for example fruit and vegetables in Brazil.

AgriBrasilis – What are the main technical, sanitary and barriers concerns?

Paul van de Logt – The past year we have seen an effort on the side of the Brazilian government to make progress on important sanitary dossiers for the Netherlands. This is meaningful as sanitary requirements make up an important trade barrier and take a lot of time to resolve. We work closely with our Brazilian counterparts on this.

Our exporters do meet bureaucratic barriers when dealing with Brazil. I think it is fair to say that they consider Brazil a relatively complex market. This restricts some companies in venturing into the market. I hope to work with Brazilian partners to increase the number of companies doing business in the agricultural sector.

An important and recent technical barrier that we see is the increased price of transport due to the container crisis. This is a global challenge that could affect our trade relations.

AgriBrasilis – What is the destination of the main products that Brazil exports to the Netherlands?

Paul van de Logt – The main destination for these products is neighboring Germany, which together with Belgium, the United Kingdom and France absorb 55% of Dutch agricultural exports. 80% of the exported products to the Netherlands are processed in some way before moving onwards to the EU market. Only 20% is transiting through the country without processing.

AgriBrasilis – Brazilian agribusiness is very different from Dutch. How do they complement each other?

Paul van de Logt – The Netherlands, being a small country, has invested a lot in agricultural productivity, which today is the highest in the world for many crops, especially vegetables. To this end, technological innovation and the production of disease- and pest-free propagation material have been important, as well as an efficient agro logistics and a commercial network with a global reach.

I think that the Netherlands can have added value in sustainable productivity (reducing pesticides, water use and land use). In agro logistics we could contribute to the reduction of food loss and waste. Our food processing companies could help add more value to the agricultural production in Brazil.

AgriBrasilis – How do you see the commercial relationship between the two countries in the long term?

Paul van de Logt I hope that the commercial relationship will get stronger and more focused on sustainably produced goods.

As the counselor for the Netherlands, I of course hope that our exports to Brazil will grow in the sectors that I have mentioned. We have great dairy products, the best starting material for horticulture and flowers, our agro logistics are world class etc.

In addition, I also hope our knowledge exchange expands. Brazil and the Netherlands have top grade universities and research institutions for agriculture. We need those to help us make the transitions towards sustainable food systems.

The Netherlands is actively pursuing a more sustainable food system with more circularity, less impact on climate and forest, fair income for farmers and healthy diets for people. We think there will be many possibilities to work with Brazil on this agenda and hope to share (or sell) these products and technologies.