CNA evaluates impact of COVID-19 in Brazil and US

Posted by Marina

The Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil (CNA) held a live broadcast via Instagram, on Friday (17), to assess the outlook of the Brazilian and US agribusiness coronavirus during the crisis.

The virtual meeting with the participation of the Superintendent of International Relations CNA, Lígia Dutra; expert on trade policy in Bryant Christie, Aline Oliveira; and Professor of International Trade at American University, Renata Amaral.

One of the topics discussed was the measurements taken by the US government to ensure domestic supply and international trade in agricultural products. According to Aline, the support package approved by the federal government allocates at least $ 23.5 billion to guarantee assistance to the sector and supply of food internally. Moreover, it is being discussed the possibility of direct aid to producers and the purchase of surplus products.

"Another interesting aspect was the flexibility that they did for fruit exports by air. As the number of people traveling dropped a lot, they will allow the transportation of cargo in the passenger cabin, "he said.

Trade policy expert also reveals that the fruit and vegetable sector is an increase of sales in supermarkets, including the canned version. On the other hand, there was a drop in commodity prices and the closure of meat processing plants due to the remoteness of infected employees by COVID-19, which can reduce the domestic supply and a possible relaxation in the import of these products.

Restrictions - To date have not been registered restrictions of the United States in relation to agricultural trade with other countries. Globally, the World Trade Organization (WTO) predicts a decline of 13% to 32% of world trade in goods in 2020, indicates Renata Amaral. 

"Nobody knows how long the crisis will last. It is extremely important data transparency and cooperation among countries, especially so that the food does not suffer restrictions, "he said.

On possible improvements in the trade agreement between Brazil and the United States, a professor at American University estimates that there is political will to facilitate an approximation. As she, technical teams are working on specific points of a preliminary report, but the pandemic and the US presidential election this year should delay any definition.

As for businesses involving the United States and China, the general view is that the first phase of the trade agreement is being fulfilled. Nevertheless, the high volumes of export and import provided, added to the lack of transparency in sanitary and phytosanitary rules, create weakness in the partnership.

In this scenario and the changes caused by the pandemic, they believe that Brazil needs to review trade policies and be aware of new opportunities that may arise in the international market. A common goal between Brazil and the United States may be the European Union. In partnership, both can bring down protectionist measures and increase exports, despite competition in some agricultural products.

"We export $ 7 billion to the United States last year. This is our third largest trading partner. We know it is a strong competitor in the international market, but are complementary and a possibility to broaden our business together, "says Ligia Dutra.