Brazil makes big push in Asia

Brazil makes big push in Asia

Brazil’s ambitious goal: Boost share of world ag market to 10% in five years.

Brazilian Ag Minister Blairo Maggi planned to make the most of a trip with Brazilian President Michel Temer to the G-20 Summit in China. With a group of about 100 Brazilian businesspeople in tow, Maggi will meet with Asian importers until later this month in South Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, India and other regional countries in an attempt to reach the administration’s stated goal of increasing Brazil’s share of the world agriculture market to 10% (from its current estimate of 7%) within five years.

Brazilian Ag Minister Blairo Maggi in Shanghai last week hoping for more ag trade with Asia.

“As a farmer, I understand that if you don’t plant, you don’t harvest,” the minister says. “This visit is planting, a possibility. Who knows? Perhaps we’ll manage to open up some markets.”

Added value through beef, pork

The China meetings are clearly the most important for Brazil, with China not only buying beans but showing a great deal of interest in helping the South American country with its export infrastructure. But with USDA’s recent approval of fresh beef imports from areas certified free of hoof and mouth, Maggi thinks the Chinese might increase beef imports from Brazil.

And he thinks more Brazilian pork can be bought by the Koreans.

“I’ve got Hyundai cars, a Samsung TV… I’m a typical consumer of Korean products. We want to increase trade with Korea. But, to do that, it’s necessary that your country, in turn, increase its purchase of Brazilian products,” the minister told a group in Seoul.

Korean approval of Brazilian pork imports has been stalled for years, but Maggi indicated after the visit that officials told him Korean government technicians would inspect some Brazilian processing plants before the end of this year. That would bring market opening one step closer.

Motivated to grab markets

With agriculture weighing so heavily in the total value of Brazilian exports, officials are counting on progress with Asia, especially more value-added trade. Success with trips such as this one would be the quickest way for the country to begin to dig itself out of severe economic doldrums.

At the same time, it’s good reason for U.S. producers to keep their eyes on the ball. If Brazil is looking to double its share of the world agricultural export market, some of that share could come from you.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

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