Brazilian agriculture wants minister to tread lightly

Brazilian agricultural organisations demand that Foreign Affairs Minister, Ernesto Araújo tempers his criticism against China. Araujo blogged about a “corona conspiracy theory” in a personal blog, jeopardising huge trade stakes with China.

The criticism against Araujo has increased after the publication a text titled “Comunavírus” (“communist virus”) in April on his personal blog. The diplomat said: “All in the name of ‘solidarity ’, an’ ideological virus will infect the world and allow communism to build unexpectedly’.

Ernesto Araújo, Brazil's Foreign Affairs Minister. Photo: Wikimedia
Ernesto Araújo, Brazil's Foreign Affairs Minister. Photo: Wikimedia

Previously, the minister already criticised China supporting Eduardo Bolsonaro (deputy and son of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro) and ironies from the Education Minister, Abraham Weintraub. China’s ambassador in Brazil, Yang Wanming, reacted harshly: “Those words are an evil insult against China and the Chinese people. Such blatant anti-China attitude does not match to a special public figure. In addition, they will hurt the China-Brazil friendly relationship. You need to assume all its consequences.”

Brazilian chicken exports to China grow 59%, despite Covid19
China had imported 115,400 tons of Brazilian chicken meat during the 2020 first bimester, 59% more than the same period in 2019.

Chinese help us

The president of the Chamber’s Agriculture Commission, deputy Fausto Pinato (PP-SP), said he wants to request the impeachment of the Foreign Affair minister over his words. “The minister states there is a plan to consolidate communism through the covid-19 pandemic. He is acting against the interests of Brazil. We need investments and a market for agricultural products. The Chinese help us on this,” said Pinato, who also chairs the Brazil-China Parliamentary Front. The Parliamentary Front for Agriculture (FPA), a powerful political group in the National Congress, is also expressing its concern regarding the alleged statements reproduced by the national news. “They diminish the importance of trade relations between Brazil and China,” FPA argues.

Over 19% of all poultry meat exported from Brazil is destined for China. Photo: Koos Groenewold
Over 19% of all poultry meat exported from Brazil is destined for China. Photo: Koos Groenewold

Main partner

China is the main destination for Brazilian exports, according to the Foreign Trade Indicator (Icomex), from the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV). About 27.8% of the products exported by Brazil have a Chinese destination, 19% of all exported chicken meat goes to China. In 2019, they bought US$ 1.23 billion. In total, the volume shipped chicken, beef and pork was 6.965 million tons, 5.8% more than in 2018, with a revenue 12.5% higher, of US$ 16.523 billion.