RIO DE JANEIRO – China, which is Brazil’s largest trade partner, has opened its market to the South American giant’s dairy products like cheese and powdered milk, official sources reported Tuesday.
With the opening of this new market, Brazil, one of the world’s biggest food producers and exporters, plans to promote the dairy sector and sell the Asian country some $4.5 million worth of cheese in the first year.
The Chinese decision was confirmed by Brazilian Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Correa, who noted that the opening of the new market will drive the production chain and support a sector that is not having the best of times in Brazil, where there are 1.2 million small producers of milk products.
“I believe this is exceptional news for the dairy sector, which has been having some pretty hard and hopeless times. This brings hope back to the dairy industry,” the minister said.
Though it has been certified since 2007, the South American country, which produces 600 tons of milk per year, wasn’t able to send its dairy products to China because there was no plant with authorization.
Now 24 plants have the go-ahead of the Chinese government to export to that country non-liquid dairy products such as powdered milk, cheese and condensed milk.
With its varieties of cheese alone, Brazil expects to export to China an amount worth some $4.5 million, according to Viva Dairy, the association representing the Brazilian dairy industry.
In 2018, China imported 108,000 tons of cheese, a product whose demand has had a growth rate of 13 percent over the last five years, according to the association.
“Brazilian cheese exports have grown by 65.2 percent in the last three years. Before the opening of the Chinese market, the sector was already investing in getting its products into China by taking part in food fairs,” the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.
Since 2009, China has been Brazil’s leading trade partner and the volume of sales between the two countries reached $98.9 billion last year, according to official figures.