RIO DE JANEIRO – China has become Brazil’s top trading partner, displacing the United States from that position, in a trend that is predicted to continue at least through 2009, Brazil’s industry and foreign trade minister said on Monday.
China moved into the top spot in March and repeated the performance in April with figures that “surely” will make the Asian giant the leader in the first four months and that will continue all year long “because the economy of the United States is weak as a result of the crisis,” Miguel Jorge said in remarks quoted by the Agencia Estado news agency.
“If China grows 7 percent in the second quarter, it will easier to maintain that same rate of expansion in the second half of the year, given that the country is already showing a better recovery than had been hoped,” Jorge said.
The minister said that Brazil could end 2009 with a growth rate of 7 percent in its businesses with Beijing and a bilateral trade surplus of $15 billion.
The main products that Brazil exports to China are soy, accounting for 33 percent of the total; iron ore, 25 percent, and petroleum, 10 percent, according to ministry figures.
The South American country mainly imports industrialized products from China, including parts for telephones, liquid crystal display screens, as well as coke to be used as fuel.
The Brazilian trade surplus shot up to $6.7 billion in this year’s first four months, 51.3 percent higher than in the first four-month period in 2008, according to figures released Monday by the government.
This figure was due to the robust recovery in exports with respect to prior months and to the continued fall in imports.
However, the country’s total trade flow, the sum of imports and exports, totaled $80.2 billion, a drop of 19.5 percent compared with the first four months of 2008 and a performance that shows the weakness of international trade flows resulting from the global recession. EFE