In Focus – Brazil



Since its return to democracy in the beginning of 1980, the Republic of Brazil guarantees the separation of powers.The Citizens Constitution of 1988 enshrined liberal democracy in the country.The pacific coexistence of the ethnicities (Whites (48.2%), Mixed descent (44.2%), Blacks (6.9%), Asian (0.7%) and Indigenous (0.7%) ) and the freedom of religion (catholic majority of 64,6%) guaranteed by the Constitution characterise a modern cosmopolitan society which celebrates tolerance.

In terms of commercial practice, Brazil operates on a business culture of personal contact and familiarity between investors and local partners.Investors can therefore easily visit the country to connect with qualified contacts and government support services, as well as make business rounds and inspect facilities.

Source: Investment Guide to Brazil 2014

Government regime – Presidential democracy.

The current president, Dilma Roussef’s term ends in late 2014. Elections are scheduled for October, by which time a new President of the Republic, Governors, State and District Deputies, Senators and Federal Deputies will be elected.


The 7th largest economy in the world – Brazil has a GDP of US$ 2.4 trillion in 2013, making up 50% of the economy of Latin America.The total growth of the GDP over the past 3 years has been of 11.1%, with an annual average estimated at 3.5% between 2010 and 2015.

Vast consumer market – with a population of 201 million, Brazil is the 3rd largest market in the world for health and beauty products as well as PC computers.

Furthermore, it is the 4th largest for mobile phones, automobiles and televisions, and the 5th largest for medical equipment.

Trade balance – In 2013, Brazil’s trade balance recorded a surplus of US$ 2.6 billion, a significant decrease in comparison with the surplus of US$ 19.4 billion in 2012.

Table 1 – External Brazilian Commerce 2002/2013 (in US$ billions

Years Exports (X) Imports (M) Commercial Exchange (X + M) Commercial Balance (X – M)
2013 242,2 239,6 481,8 2,6
2012 242,6 223,2 465,8 19,4
2011 256,0 226,2 482,3 29,8
2002 60,4 47,2 107,7 13,2

Source: Ministerio das Relações Exteriores (MRE)

Largest receiver of FDI in Latin America – In 2013, Brazil received a total of US$ 63 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), ahead of any other Latin American country.
It is also the world’s 7th largest beneficiary of FDI according to UNCTAD-ONU. Its richness in natural resources and its strong democracy make Brazil one of the most attractive countries for foreign investment.

As of 2014 US$ 15 billion have been invested in credit and subsidies to support innovative projects within the framework of the Inova Empresa programme.

Competitive advantages

• Leader in the regional economy

• Safe investment environment

• Large internal market

• Global player

• Focus on innovation

• World class workforce

• Grand projects for infrastructure

• Agricultural potential and energy

• A gateway to Latin America


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According to data relating to 2012 (Table 2), of the 6,439 Brazilian companies which are classified as ‘large companies’, 3,266 export to the EU, 2,568 export to the USA and 3,306 to Mercosur.

The value represented by Brazilian exports to the EU was US$ 47.3 billion; as opposed to US$ 24.1 for the USA and US$ 21 to Mercosur.



Table 2 – Export from large Brazilian companies in 2012 (US$ FOB)

Large Companies Number of Companies FOB (US$)
Qtde 2012 Part % US$ FOB 2012 Part %
6.439 29,97 232.155.703.430 100,00
014 European Union (EU) 3.266 50,72 20,36
023 USA (including Porto Rico) 2.568 39,88 10,83
024 Mercosur 3.306 51,34 20.965.799.599 9,03

Source: MINISTRY OF DEVELOPMENT, INDUSTRY AND FOREIGN TRADE (MDIC, 2013) Note: Distribution per destination economic block – all blocks
* The totals and percentages per block do not correspond to general totals and percentages because one country may belong to several blocks.
** Large industrial company: counts more than 200 employees and is worth more than US$ 20 million; Large commercial and service-providing company: counts more than 80 employees and is worth more than US$ 7 million (SECEX/MDIC methodology)

Brazil-EU Commercial balance – In 2013, Brazilian exports to the EU were worth US$ 47.8 billion and imports worth US$ 50.7 billion, with a deficit for Brazil worth US$ 3 billion. See Table 3 below.

Table 3 – Evolution of Brazil-EU commercial exchange between 2009 and 2013 (US$ billion)







Brazilian Exports 34,2 43,2 53,2 49,1 47,8
Variation in relation to the previous year -26,6% 26,5% 23,0% -7,6% -2,7%
Brazilian Imports 29,2 39,2 46,5 47,7 50,7
Variation in relation to the previous year -19,2% 33,9% 18,7% 2,7% 6,4%
Commercial Exchange 63,4 82,4 99,6 96,8 98,5
Variation in relation to the previous year -23,4% 29,9% 20,9% -2,8% 1,8%
Commercial Balance 5,0 4,1 6,7 1,4 -3,0

Source: Ministério das Relações Exteriores (MRE)

Table 4 below outlines the 15 most representative chapters of the Harmonised System in relation to actual imports to the EU via the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). These correspond to 91% of Brazilian exports done through this programme.

Table 4 – Main chapters on EU imports from Brazil via the GSP (2012)

Chapter Description Actual Exports via GSP (€ million)
84 Boilers, machines, appliances and mechanical instruments 779,7
27 Fossil Fuels 619,8
29 Organic Chemical Products 486,8
41 Skins, except pelts and leathers 288,4
39 Plastics and similar articles 227,9
87 Automotive vehicles, tractors 226,7
64 Footwear and similar articles 211,4
85 Machines, appliances and electric materials and their components 193,5
08 Fruits 165,5
28 Inorganic chemical products 160,7
38 Various products from the chemical industry 119,7
15 Fats and oils, animal or vegetable 91,6
72 Pig iron, iron and steel 84,9
40 Rubber and similar articles 79,8
35 Albuminoid materials, glues and enzymes 71,5
Total 4.180,6



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Table 5 –The ten biggest exporting Brazilian companies in 2013 (more than US$ 100 million)

Ranking Registered Company
Vale S/A
Petróleo Brasileiro S/A – Petrobras
Bunge Alimentos S/A
Cargill Agrícola S/A
ADM do Brasil Ltda.
Embraer S/A
Louis Dreyfus Commodities Brasil S.A.

Source: MDIC

Table 6 – The ten biggest importing companies in 2013 (more than US$ 100 million)

Ranking Registered Name
Petróleo Brasileiro S/A – Petrobras
Samsung Eletrônica da Amazônia Ltda.
Braskem S/A
Toyota do Brasil Ltda.
Cisa Trading S/A
Embraer S/A
Volkswagen do Brasil Ltda.
Ford Motor Company Brasil Ltda.
LG Electronics do Brasil Ltda.
10º Syngenta Proteção de Cultivos Ltda.

Source: MDIC

Europe is the biggest importer of Brazilian agricultural products.

Table 3 – Products with records in exported value in 2013

Products Records in 2013 Previous record
US$ million Var. % sobre 2012 Quantity (ton) Year US$ million
Soybeans** 22.812 29,7 42.796.104 2012 17.455
Soybean Meal 6.787 2,1 13.333.546 2012 6.595
Bovine mean 6.660 15,0 1.504.317 2012 5.744
Corn* 6.299 16,1 26.622.831 2012 5.383
Automobiles (per thousand units) 5.485 46,1 476 2008 4.916
Cellulose* 5.185 9,3 9.875.354 2011 5.002
Leather* 2.492 19,4 482.758 2007 2.185
Cargo vehicles (per thousand units 2.211 5,3 109 2011 2.190
Copper ore* 1.826 19,9 854.263 2011 1.573
Marble and Granite workings* 862 24,4 1.055.975 2007 732

Source: MDIC/SECEX Note: (*) Records in value and volume shipped


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Agribusiness are responsible for nearly 40% of Brazil’s exports, generating a surplus of US$ 80 billion and sustaining a positive outcome in the balance of trade, which has a great effect on the macroeconomic weight of the country.

The Mercosur Free Trade Agreement with the European Union is an important tool to promote Brazil’s trade. It has an impact on the economies of countries from both blocs in areas such as income levels, employment and consumption. It thus enables further consumer access to cheaper products while widening the range of selection.

Projections for the 2023/2024 harvest


Source: OUTLOOK FIESP/ USDA (2013)


Brazilian Mission in Brussels – Brazil established diplomatic relations with the European Economic Community in 1960. In 1961 permanent diplomatic representation was established in Brussels: the Delegation of Brazil in relation with the European Economic Community.

In 1963, with an increase in mandate, the Brazilian Mission joint with the European Communities was created – BRASEUROPA.

Secom/BrusselsBrazil’s commercial promotions sector in Belgium (more specifically in the Brazilian Embassy) puts the country in the circuit of important fairs such as European Seafood and the Salon de Vacances. An exporter may also count on Brazil in the Economic Representation of Flanders and the Economic Representation of Wallonia.

Apex-Brasil – The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) promotes Brazilian products and services abroad and seeks to attract foreign investments to strategic sectors of the Brazilian economy. The Agency organises diversified trade promotion actions with the aim of encouraging Brazilian exports and marketing Brazilian products abroad.

Apex-Brasil coordinates the actions taken in order to further attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to Brazil, seeking to allocate resources to the sectors which are of strategic relevance to the development of competition both in Brazil and its companies.

CNIThe National Confederation of Industry is formed by a network of 27 industrial federations in the Brazilian States and in the Federal District as well as 1,000 employer unions and 196,000 industrial establishments. As its main objective, the CNI focuses on the production sector, advocating the removal of barriers to trade, further access to the international market and tax reforms. It also operates in labour and environmental affairs.

CNAThe National Confederation of Agriculture (CNA) opened the Agro Brasil Space in 2013 in Brussels in response to the need for quick and reliable information on the management of agricultural and livestock matters in the European Union. Its objective is to boost negotiations on the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement.

In Focus – Europe

The European Union in Numbers

In Focus – Brazil

Brazil in Numbers

Brazil and Europe working together

Strategic partnership Brazil and the European Union