Aug. 19, 2021
By Leonardo Gottems, reporter for AgroPages
Of all the investments that China has made in Brazil in the last decade and a half, only 3% were in agribusiness, equivalent to US$1.98 billion.
The information comes from the recently released study “Chinese Investments in Brazil – History, Trends and Global Challenges (2007-2020)”, by author Tulio Cariello, content and research director at CEBC (Brazil-China Business Council).
According to the survey, the sectors of electricity, with 48%, and oil extraction (28%) were those that received the absolute majority of the amount contributed between 2007 and 2020. Much further down is the extraction of metallic minerals (7%), manufacturing industry (6%), infrastructure works (5%), agriculture, livestock and related services (3%), financial services activities (2%) and others (2%).
“Investments linked to agriculture draw attention due to their low value, 3% of the total, which contrasts with the great complementarity between the two countries in this area. Data from the Ministry of Economy, cross-checked with a survey by the Ministry of Agriculture, show that the share of agribusiness products in exports to China jumped from 35% in 2010 to 50% in 2020,” Cariello commented.
According to him, this growing dependence has brought investments from companies such as COFCO, Tide Group and LongPing High-Tech, ranging from the commercialization and supply of agricultural products to the manufacture of chemicals for the agribusiness.
“China also increased its presence in this sector indirectly, through the acquisition of large multinationals in Brazil. The main example of this movement was the acquisition, in 2017, of the Swiss company Syngenta by the central state-owned ChemChina. The US$43 billion operation was the largest ever carried out by China abroad,” the study pointed out.
The Brazilian state of Mato Grosso attracted 4.6% of Chinese projects, hosting some of the most relevant investments in agriculture and related services. “The global acquisition of Nidera and Noble by COFCO, which now holds assets of trading companies that were already operating in the state and Brazil, is a successful example of Chinese entry into the Brazilian agricultural sector,” the survey highlighted. The Southern Region is also representative of investments in this segment, given the presence of COFCO throughout the region.
The Chinese also invested in important infrastructure works, which account for 5% of the value of confirmed projects. In this sector, which has an indirect connection with agribusiness, the contributions of the state-owned China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), owner of Concremat Engenharia, and China Merchants Port, which since 2018 has in its portfolio the Container Terminal of Paranaguá (state of Paraná).