São Paulo, Dec 1 (EFE).- Under the progressive leadership of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who assumed office in January, Brazil is striving to reestablish and strengthen ties with Latin America, a market where the country aims to reclaim its lost influence in recent years.
Jorge Viana, President of the Brazilian Agency for the Promotion of Exports and Investments (ApexBrasil), emphasized in an interview with Agencia EFE that there is “a huge window” for expanding trade and diplomatic relations.
“It’s a priority of this government to promote commercial integration among Latin American countries. Brazil intends to regain its economic and commercial leadership, as well as leadership in environmental, energy, and infrastructure projects in the region,” Viana said.
Two Decades of Decline
Over the past 20 years, Brazil’s influence in South American trade has diminished. In 2003, Brazil was the main trading partner for its neighbors, with its products representing 17% of the imports of South American countries. However, this figure dropped to 12.7% in 2022.
Notably, Brazil has lost 40% of its trade flow with Argentina, its largest trading partner in the region, Viana pointed out, expressing hope to reverse these numbers.
He said he believed that increasing integration with Latin America would also “increase the attractiveness of the region for attracting investments and fostering innovation.”
South America and Mercosur: Key Trading Partners
In 2022, Brazil’s trade with South American countries totaled $73.7 billion, making the region Brazil’s third largest trading partner, behind China and the United States.
Additionally, Mercosur, an economic bloc consisting of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, ranks as the fourth destination for Brazilian exports, trailing China, the U.S., and the European Union, accounting for 4.9% of Brazil’s total exports in 2022, particularly in vehicles, oil, machinery, electronics, plastics, and iron.
To stimulate more business and investment, Brazil organized a meeting in October with entrepreneurs and agricultural and industrial trade associations in Colombia, identifying over 1,500 opportunities, with Brazil as the third largest supplier.
An ApexBrasil study released this year highlights over 13,000 commercial opportunities in South America. “Investing in strategic partnerships in South America not only boosts our economy but also solidifies Brazil’s image as a trading partner,” Viana stated.
Central America and Mexico
Trade relations between Brazil and Central American countries, including Mexico, generated $19.7 billion last year, a figure significantly lower than these countries’ trade with the United States.
Viana sees “considerable room to expand our participation, intensifying a relationship that could also include increasing Brazilian purchases from these countries.” He cited the demand for animal protein in the Caribbean, currently mainly met by the United States, as an example.
To expand its presence in these markets, ApexBrasil hosted a trade meeting in Panama in October, a country strategically positioned as a connection platform between America and Asia.