“… Brazil is the largest source of Chinese agricultural imports and its share has increased in recent years …”
Shao Yingjun is minister counselor for economic and trade affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Brazil. She was the advisor for economic and trade affairs at the Chinese Embassies in Colombia, Chile and Mexico, and also deputy director of the Department of American and Oceanic Affairs at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
AgriBrasilis – What is the evolution of Brazil’s share of agricultural imports from China?
Shao Yingjun – As the world’s leading countries in agriculture, China and Brazil have strong complementarity and great potential for mutual development. According to Chinese customs data, China imported US$ 45.368 billion worth of agricultural products from Brazil in 2021, representing 20.49% of total agricultural imports.
Brazil is the largest source of Chinese agricultural imports and its share has increased in recent years. Between 2002 and 2011, of Chinese soybean imports, grains from Brazil accounted for an average of 34.68%, and the average value of the Brazilian share from 2012 to 2021 was 55.05%. In 2021, Chinese soybean imports from Brazil reached US$ 33.18 billion, an increase of 33.22% when compared to the previous year, accounting for 61.97% of China’s soybean imports. The Brazilian share on Chinese beef imports increased from 9.32% in 2011 to 38.86% in 2021.
China is also a major country in agricultural production, however, its exports to Brazil are still low. China exported only US$ 444 million of agricultural products to Brazil in 2021, representing only 0.52% of Chinese agricultural exports. Trade deficit with Brazil reaches US$ 44.924 billion.
AgriBrasilis – Is China’s agricultural import list changing? Is there demand for products with higher added value?
Shao Yingjun – In recent years, Chinese agricultural trade has grown rapidly. According to the General Administration of Customs of China, foreign trade of agricultural products reached US$ 306.448 billion in 2021, an increase of 63.43% compared to 2015. Exports were US$ 85.013 billion, with an increase of 20.29%. Imports were US$ 221.44 billion, increasing 89.52%.
Chinese imports of agricultural commodities also grew. In 2020, Chinese soybean imports reached a record of 100.31 million tons. In 2021, corn imports reached a record of 28.35 million tons.
Along with the development of Chinese economy and the consistent rise in people’s living standards, imports of agricultural products are diversifying. Demand for high value-added agricultural products is increasing, such as coffee, fruit, dairy, beef, sheep, pork, poultry, chestnuts, wines and seafood.
Chinese coffee imports grew 68.13% in 2021. Among them, Brazilian coffee imports increased by 122.82%, reaching US$ 54.73 million. Brazil already occupies 10.4% of the share of Chinese coffee imports. Five years ago, this share was 2.01%.
AgriBrasilis – Is there any prospect of Chinese investments in Brazil, especially in agribusiness?
Shao Yingjun – In recent years, the investment cooperation between China and Brazil have been in constant progress. Chinese companies have invested in Brazil in a wide range of traditional and emerging industries, such as oil, electricity, new energy, infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and communications, making China one of the main sources of investment in Brazil.
There are almost 300 Chinese companies in Brazil, with investments of more than US$ 80 billion in 23 Brazilian states. Chinese companies are optimistic about Brazil’s medium and long-term development prospects, and are paying attention to the country’s policies to attract investment in key areas. Essential for boosting post-pandemic economy, agriculture will bring opportunities for investment cooperation between both countries.