BRAZIL - The Chinese market is vital to the growth of Brazil's agricultural sector, and the country plans to focus on expanding exports to the world's second-biggest economy, according to the new Brazilian Agriculture Minister Katia Abreu.
"We need to sign more trade agreements with China. This desire is very strong for us," said Ms Abreu (pictured).
Ms Abreu, who is also president of the National Confederation of Agriculture, underscored the importance of Chinese investment to his country's agricultural sector.
Agriculture plays a key role in Brazil's economy, with the total volume of agricultural production in 2014 accounting for 22.5 per cent of GDP.
Brazil is the world's biggest producer and exporter of coffee, sugar and orange juice, the biggest meat exporter and the second-biggest producer and exporter of soy products, as well as a major grower of corn.
China is the largest importer of Brazil's agricultural products. In 2014, Brazil's agricultural exports to China represented 22 per cent of the South American nation's total agricultural exports. That's more than the total amount of Brazil's second- to fifth-largest export destinations, the United States, the Netherlands, Russia and Germany.
Ms Abreu said Brazil and China should expand cooperation in the agricultural sector by not only boosting direct trade, but also exchanging more high value-added products.
"We always want to be able to export more high value-added agricultural products," said Ms Abreu.
To further explore the Chinese market, Ms Abreu said she will lead a delegation to China in March. She also wants China to cut the import tariff on Brazilian coffee, and to accept the Brazilian meat industry's health-inspection standards.
China lifted an embargo on Brazilian beef imports last year after suspending them in 2012 following a case of mad cow disease in the South American country.
Ms Abreu wants Brazilian beef, chicken and pork parts that are certified by Brazil's sanitary regulators sent to China without having to be certified by the Asian country's inspectors.
Brazil's Agriculture Ministry said at the end of 2014 that beef exports to China are expected to increase significantly in 2015, to at least $700 million from $37 million in 2012.
TheMeatSite News Desk