SAO PAULO – Brazilian exports to the United States fell 42.2 percent in 2009, a senior official said Tuesday.
The secretary of the Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Ministry, Welber Barral, acknowledged the drop in sales to the U.S. but stressed that total trade between the two countries was $35.9 billion last year, down 32.7 percent from 2008.
“We have to take action to win back the U.S. market. We export a lot of manufactured goods there and we’re only going to recover our industrial exports if we get back our sales to important markets like the United States and Latin America,” Barral said.
Brazil’s exports fell 22.2 percent overall last year amid the global economic crisis.
But at the same time Brazilian exports to Asia grew by 5.9 percent, and by 23.1 percent to China alone, which purchased $19.9 billion from the South American nation.
China also became Brazil’s second biggest trade partner after the United States with a total exchange of $35.8 billion.
“To get an idea, out of all that Brazil sold in 2009 to foreign markets, more than 13 percent went to the Chinese market,” Barral said.
He said that looking forward to 2010, the government will have as a priority the recovery of foreign sales, for which he considered it fundamental to reduce export duties and taxes.
“We have a difficult year ahead. We need to win markets and Brazilian products have prices that are inflated by taxes,” he said.
Barral also referred to structuring a more aggressive trade policy, signing bilateral accords by sectors, simplifying laws and bringing them up to date, and modernizing management. EFE