Market News & Headlines >> Brazil-China Trade Talks Likely in 2019

Brazil and China are expected to hold their first high-level political and economic talks since 2015 later this year, in a move likely to boost farm trade between the two countries, Brazil's agriculture trade secretary told Reuters News Service on Jan. 31. 

The first meeting of the China-Brazil High-Level Coordination and Cooperation Committee (Cosban), last convened under former President Dilma Rousseff, is "very probable" for the second half of the year, said Orlando Leite Ribeiro, who oversees trade and international relations at the Agriculture Ministry. Cosban talks had been halted because they were usually led by Brazil’s vice president, a position left vacant when Michel Temer assumed the presidency after Rousseff was impeached in 2016. 

The meeting should advance talks to permit more Brazilian meatpackers to export to China and to accelerate Chinese approvals of genetically modified (GMO) products, Ribeiro told Reuters in an interview. 

China is Brazil's largest trade partner and is the top importer of Brazilian soy and beef.

Brazil’s exports to China totaled $64.2 billion in value last year, up 35% year-over-year, in part because China’s imports of Brazilian soybeans soared amid its trade war with the United States.

China sent a delegation to Brazil in December to visit factories producing beef, poultry and donkey, with an eye on allowing more plants to export. 

"Our expectation is that this will result in openings. This is a very important year with China, we will have Cosban, so I want to believe that this year we will have good news, major advancements," Ribeiro said. 

Regarding GMO approvals, Brazilian farmers often cannot use the latest seed technology over concerns they will not be able to sell their crop to China, he said. Some products have waited more than two years for approval, after China reduced the frequency of approval meetings several years ago, Ribeiro said. "The expectation is to restart these talks and that we will speed up the process of approvals," he said.