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By Tori Uhland

August 25, 2023

Continuing with the trend from last week, I’m going to talk a little bit more about South America and their global trade relationships. In recent years, the agricultural trade relationship between China and South America has grown significantly, with China emerging as a major importer of agricultural products from various South American countries. This trade relationship is characterized by the exchange of commodities that cater to China’s demand for food, feed, and other agricultural resources.

The most significant component of the China-South America agricultural trade relationship is soybeans. South American countries, particularly Brazil and Argentina, are major soybean producers and exporters. China’s substantial appetite for soybeans, driven by its livestock and aquaculture industries, has led to substantial imports from these countries.

Brazil has positioned itself as a primary supplier of soybeans to China. The counter-seasonal production cycle in Brazil ensures that the country can supply soybeans to China when other major exporters like the United States are in the off-season. This has made Brazil a crucial partner in China’s efforts to secure a consistent supply of soybeans.

China has also been investing in South American agricultural sectors, often to ensure a stable supply of commodities. These investments can involve infrastructure development, such as ports and storage facilities, which facilitate the efficient movement of goods from South America to China.

The agricultural trade relationship between China and South America is also influenced by geopolitical factors. Trade negotiations, tariffs, and international relations play a role in shaping the terms of this trade. China’s Belt and Road Initiative, aimed at enhancing connectivity and trade, also intersects with its agricultural trade interests in South America.

The agricultural trade relationship between China and South America is characterized by China’s growing demand for agricultural products and South America’s capacity to supply these commodities. South America has also become a steep competitor for the United States in terms of exports. The US has always been a dominant player in the world market, but as South America’s production and logistics improve, the market has evolved. China’s trade tensions with the US have led to shifts in its sourcing strategies for ag products, including increasing imports from South America. This has fueled investment in infrastructure and logistics across South America to facilitate efficient exports. The interplay between these three regions is a complex dance of supply, demand, geopolitics, and environmental considerations that shape the global food trade landscape.