Brazil should expand its exports of processed food to diversify the mix of goods sold to China, said Jose Vicente Lessa, consul general of Brazil in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.
Soybean, iron ore and oil products account for 79 percent of Brazil’s exports to China. “We should not focus on primary products,” Lessa said.
Brazil also exports sugar, leather, meat, soy oil, paper pulp and airplanes. Its main imports from China include machinery, electrical materials, integrated circuits, chemicals, plastics and cars.
Trade between Brazil and China more than doubled to $83 billion between 2009 and 2013. It dipped slightly last year, partly because of the economic downturn in Brazil, but it has since rebounded, he said.
Brazil is the world’s largest producer and exporter of coffee, sugar and orange juice, the largest meat exporter and the second-largest producer and exporter of soy products, as well as a major grower of corn.
Last year, Brazil’s agricultural exports to China accounted for 22 percent of the South American nation’s total agricultural exports. China is Brazil’s largest trading partner.
China Invest started importing Chinese goods to Brazil in 1999 and began exporting Brazilian products to China in 2013.
“From Brazil to China, we mainly focus on products for which China has a huge and rapidly growing demand. Brazil has keen advantages in the area of food and beverages, such as noodles, pasta, snacks, canned beef and chicken, wine, cachaca (a distilled spirit made from sugar cane), juice, beer, honey, propolis and acai,” said Paulo Fortes Machado, a project manager with the company.
“We have a high degree of confidence in ‘only from Brazil’ products, such as ... cachaca and the natural juice acai,” he said. “With the rapid growth in demand for imported products in China, we are confident that we will be able to match the success of our export business.”
China Invest opened its first office in China in Beijing in 2003 with three people. It now boasts offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, and the number of employees has risen to 35.
Major items exported from China to Brazil through the company include building materials, machinery and parts, electric products, garments, textiles, shoes, electronics and chemicals.
“Some Brazilian vendors know China offers great opportunity but do not know the name of even one Chinese buyer who could be interested in their products. Some Chinese buyers show their interest in Brazilian products but do not know any brands that can provide them with what they need.
“The biggest challenge for us to introduce products in the Chinese market is to make buyers understand the positioning of our brands in the market regarding quality and pricing.”
Machado said he believes this barrier can be overcome as Brazilian companies manage to present themselves through meetings and participation in fairs and business trips, and as more Chinese buyers visit factories in Brazil.