Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina said on Sunday she planned to host a mission to China in the first week of May to try to expand pork, beef and chicken exports to the Chinese market.
Tereza Cristina’s intention is to increase the number of slaughterhouses with health qualification to export to the Asian country, today Brazil’s largest trading partner, in addition to addressing the issue of soy exports.
The largest soybean exporter to China, Brazil may lose space with the United States on its way to negotiate a trade agreement with the Asian country.
The minister defended the importance of China for Brazilian agriculture and revealed that the mission will try to increase the range of products exported to the country.
China remains the main Brazilian trading partner, but the Chinese government has shown discomfort with the anti-Chinese rhetoric that prevailed in President Bolsonaro’s speech during the campaign and still exists in the government.
Recently, Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo questioned whether the partnership with China would be as beneficial to Brazil as it claims. “In fact, China has become Brazil’s biggest trading partner and, coincidentally, it has been a period of stagnation in Brazil,” he said.
The chancellor said that Brazil wants to sell iron ore and soy, but it will not “sell the soul” for that.
The statements angered farmers, and Araujo tried to disarm the unease on an agenda with the president of the National Agriculture Confederation (CNA) the next day, while the rest of the government has been trying to tone down the anti-Chinese statements.
Bolsonaro himself came on the pitch and, last Thursday, during a live broadcast by Facebook, said that China is a “great partner” and intends to go to the country himself in the second half of this year.
Data for 2018 from the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC) show that China remained the main destination of Brazilian exports, reaching 64.2 billion dollars last year.