The trade war triggered by U.S. President Donald Trump has made Brazil even more dependent on its number one trading partner, China. The Asian giant now accounts for over one-quarter of all Brazilian exports and almost half of the country’s commodity exports since January. The United States, in second place, receives only 12 percent of total exports from Brazil.
The leading Brazilian product sold to China is soybeans, an export which has directly benefited from Mr. Trump’s trade conflict. China is set to import 6.8 million tons fewer soybeans from the United States this year, while the order from Brazil is to increase to 8.2 million tons, adding up to 66 percent of the total amount of soybeans bought by China. Moreover, with the dramatic drop in the price of U.S. soybeans, Brazil has been able to stock up on the cheap, while selling its own product at a premium.
It has been almost 20 years since Brazil had such a concentrated export relationship with any single trading partner. In 2001, the European Union bought a whopping 50.6 percent of all Brazilian commodities. Now, the bulk of these products are going to East Asia.