Brazil eyes food exports to China via e-commerce

China's reform and opening-up drive over the past four decades has been "extremely successful," the president of Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) said.

China’s reform and opening-up drive over the past four decades has been “extremely successful,” the president of Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) said.

“The process beginning in 1978 has been fundamental to the commercial, economic and industrial modernization of China. In 40 years it gave rise to a strong economy and the world’s biggest trader,” said Roberto Jaguaribe, also a former Brazilian ambassador to China.

Jaguaribe praised China’s recently-announced initiative to encourage more exports to China’s from its trade partners, saying the initiative is doubly important as global trade is undergoing a difficult period due to the resurgence of protectionism and the looming threat of a trade war.

“The protectionist trend is stronger than it was 20 years ago. It’s an issue that requires vigilance. A trade war has no winners,” he said.

In 2009, China became Brazil’s largest trading partner. It has also been an important investor in different sectors in Brazil, including energy, minerals and food. 

Trade between the two countries has plenty of room to grow, with food and agriculture being the most obvious sectors.

“Demand for food is going to increase and Brazil is the best country in the world to satisfy that demand,” Jaguaribe said.

Apex-Brasil plans to send a delegation to the first China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai in November. The trade and investment promotion agency is to tap on the opportunity to present more choice of Brazilian products.

“There are various industrial and food products, including foods that are little known in China, like Brazilian fruits acai (berry) and cupuacu, which have a strong (potential) to penetrate the Asian market,” Jaguaribe said.

The cupuacu, related to the chocolate-producing cacao, is often called an Amazonian super fruit, rich in Vitamin E.

“We are also creating an e-commerce line for immediate consumer products. Brazil wants to partner with Chinese e-commerce (companies),” Jaguaribe said. “We have started a partnership with Alibaba and are looking for other Chinese companies in the same sector.”

To make it easier for Brazilian companies to break into the Chinese market, Apex-Brasil is hiring local businesses with insights into the local consumer market.

Given the “great solidity” of China-Brazil ties, Jaguaribe doesn’t expect the outcome of Brazil’s presidential elections in October to affect the bilateral relations.

“China-Brazil ties are permanent. They are both large developing countries with numerous reciprocal and common interests. I see a natural and necessary tendency (toward growth) in all aspects of the relationship,” he said. “The common foundation is a world governed by stable rules, by multilateral measures. We share this foundation.”

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