Brazil and Paraguay signed on Tuesday an agreement to boost autos and auto parts trade between the two countries. Under the agreement, Brazil will grant free trade treatment to Paraguayan automotive products immediately and Paraguay will allow Brazilian products to enter the country with lower taxes, which are of up to 2% and will gradually decrease until free trade conditions are met by 2022.
The presidents of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro and Argentina, Alberto Fernández, could meet on March 1 in Montevideo, in a sign of truce after months of tension between the two heads of State. Bolsonaro made the proposal of the meeting on the occasion of the inauguration of the Uruguayan president, Luis Lacalle Pou, upon hosting on Wednesday the Argentine Foreign Minister Felipe Solá in Brasilia. During his visit, Solá also discussed with his Brazilian counterpart, Ernesto Araújo, support for Argentina in negotiations with the IMF, bilateral trade and the strengthening of Mercosur.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday hosts Argentina’s Foreign Affairs Minister Felipe Solá, who will also meet his counterpart Ernesto Araújo. They will discuss bilateral trade, the Mercosur customs union and Venezuela, according to official sources. Relations between the two key trade partners worsened late last year as Bolsonaro’s far-right administration clashed with Alberto Fernandez’s left-leaning government.
The U.S. Department of Commerce reported its decision to remove Brazil from the list of developing countries, which may restrict trade benefits granted to nations in this category. Some practical consequences for Brazil may include the end of the unilateral exemption of export tariffs by the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the right to partial trade agreements with other developing countries, and part of the loans from the World Bank. Another 18 countries were also excluded, amongst them Argentina, Colombia, India and South Africa.
Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest doubled in January compared with a year ago, reaching a five-year record for the month, according to the national space research agency Inpe. More than 280 sq km were cleared in January, an increase of 108%, and a record for the month since data started being collected in 2016. One square kilometre roughly equals 200 football pitches. Deforestation in the Amazon soared last year.
Chinese-owned grain trader COFCO International has added up Tony Tian, Helen Song and Alfonso Romero were to its executive committee, expanding the number of members to seven, and appointed Philip Xu as new managing director Brazil, replacing Valmor Schaffer. Tian will take on the additional role of Managing Director Regions for Brazil and North America and is to relocate from Geneva to Sao Paulo. COFCO International, which is majority owned by Chinese state food conglomerate COFCO Corp, had said in October that Schaffer and his regional finance director, Wander Meyer, had been placed on leave.
Grupo SBF, the formal name of Brazil’s sports goods chain Centauro, closed a $212 million deal to take over Nike operations in the country. Centauro’s shares (CNTO3.SA) rose more than 10% on Thursday mid-morning trading in Sao Paulo after the announcement. The deal, which will add 24 Nikes stores to the current Centauro’s 200 stores, still needs to be approved by Brazilian antitrust watchdog CADE.
Swedish truck and bus manufacturer Volvo announced an investment of R$ 1 billion ($237 million) in Brazil in the period between 2020 and 2023 for research and development of products and services, including construction of equipment and marine engines. Brazil was the second market of the group in the world in 2019 when heavy truck sales grew 58%, light heavy 55.5%, buses 73% and exports, mainly to Colombia and Chile, went up 77%.
Shares in Brazil’s budget airline Gol rose as much as 5.5% on Tuesday after signing a codeshare agreement with American Airlines, that will create “the most frequent service between the United States and South America”. Gol will connect customers to more than 30 destinations in the USA, and American will offer flights to Uruguay and Paraguay, in addition to the Brazilian cities of Curitiba and Foz do Iguaçu. Flights will operate from Gol’s hubs in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Fortaleza.
“ASF, coronavirus and a new outbreak of bird flu influence consumer habits and may drive Chinese demand for Brazilian meat,” said Francisco Turra, president of Brazil’s meat industry association ABPA. The new threat reported on Saturday comes as China has been trying to increase local poultry output to substitute for pork. Last year, Chinese imports of Brazilian chicken rose 34% while its imports of Brazilian pork jumped 61%.