Exports shipped to countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, Poland, and Algeria, with which Brazil had no trading tradition, earned over US$ 4 billion in 2004.
According to the secretary of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Development, Ivan Ramalho, the addition of these new markets to Brazil’s list of foreign trade partners constituted a significant change in the country’s export profile.
“We experienced a powerful process of market diversification. The biggest export increases in 2004 occurred in sales to non-traditional markets, such as the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, and some African countries,” he affirmed.
According to Ramalho, the United States, which has historically been the largest buyer of Brazilian products, accounted for “only 20% of what the country exported.” “The other 80% now goes to scores of other countries,” he explained.
Another significant change in Brazil’s export profile, Ramalho highlighted, was the addition of 600 new products to the country’s export list, which is made up of 7,100 items.
40 years ago, 93% of what Brazil exported consisted of non-industrial raw materials, such as ore and grains, or semi-manufactured goods with little added value, such as soybean meal and timber.
Only 6% represented manufactured products with high added value, such as tractors and airplanes.
Currently, approximately 45% of the country’s exports is composed of raw materials and semi-manufactured goods, while 55% are manufactured products.
The items that experienced the highest rates of growth were aircraft (66.6%) and tractors (90.4%).
The Brazilian record in terms of the percentage of manufactured goods exported was in 1993, when 59% of the country’s exports represented this category of products.
The chief regions to which Brazil’s exports increased in 2004 were the Mercosur (57.1%) – to Argentina alone the growth amounted to 61.7%); the ALADI (Latin American Integration Association, made up of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela), with a 48.8% growth rate when it comes to the non-Mercosur members; Africa (48.4%); the Middle East (31.4%); the European Union (30.9%); Asia (24.7%); Eastern Europe (22.7%); and the United States (20.4%).
Translation: David Silberstein