Brazil has a population of approximately 205 million people, which makes it the most populous country in Latin America and the fifth largest country in the world in terms of land mass and population. In 2011, Brazil overtook the United Kingdom as the world's sixth largest economy by GDP.


Globally, Brazil is the world's largest net agricultural exporter, and the world's largest exporter of beef, poultry, orange juice, coffee, tobacco, ethanol, and sugar. Brazils' exports are split evenly between fuels and oils, iron ores and agricultural products. Top export destinations include China, the United States, Argentina, the Netherlands, Germany, and Japan. 

New Zealand and Brazil have a limited economic relationship, with two-way trade of NZ$193.5 million in 2012. Brazil was New Zealand's 48th largest export destination and 43rd most significant source of imports. Exports to Brazil trended down from 2008-2010 but have increased from NZ$53.9 milliong in 2010 to NZ$81.1 million in 2012.

New Zealand exports a small quantity of electrical equipment, machinery, pharmaceutical products and iron/steel to Brazil. Brazil's main exports to New Zealand are machinery, vehicles, sugar, coffee, tobacco and pharmaceutical products. Dairy products exports have reduced in recent years as Fonterra has bought its own farms in the Brazilian market. New Zealand runs a small merchandise trade deficit of NZ$43.12 million with Brazil. There has also been significant New Zealand agribusiness investment in Brazil with a number of private investors and New Zealand corporates investing in dairy farms in the Goias and Bahia regions.

Facts about Brazil's economy

  • Characterised by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries.
  • The country accounts for approximately 45 percent of South America's GDP and 47 percent of South America's territory.
  • Services account for over half of Brazil's GDP, but the country is also an agricultural and industrial giant. 
  • Brazil's historically high interest rates have made it an attractive destination for foreign investors.
  • Large capital inflows over the past several years have contributed to the appreciation of the currency, hurting the competitiveness of Brazilian manufacturing and leading the Government to intervene in foreign exchanges markets and raise taxes on some foreign capital inflows.
  • Doing business in Brazil requires intimate knowledge of the local environment, such as a good understanding of government procedures, labour legislation, environmental laws and tax structure.

Two way trade information

Opportunities for New Zealand business


Brazil has over 350 million hectares of arable land, and the world's largest commercial cattle and beef herd. Brazil is also the world's largest producer of coffee and sugar cane, and the second largest producer of soy beans, cattle meat and poultry. Agriculture contributes 25 percent of GDP, 30 percent of exports and 37 percent of the work force.

Brazil's southern temperate regions are conducive to New Zealand-style farms. Areas of opportunity for New Zealand exporters include artificial insemination, embryo transfer technologies, pasture management, fruit selection and sorting, shade cloth, animal management software, veterinary instruments and medicines, biotechnology, agricultural equipment for small farmers and traceability systems.

Innovative technologies such as GPS agricultural devices and state-of-the-art fruit, grain seed and vegetable sorting machines also present strong opportunities. Increasingly intensive cultivation of the existing land will drive the demand for irrigation systems. 

Information, Communications and Technology

Brazil has the 8th largest internal market of BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) in the world and the largest telecommunications market in Latin America, with most of the major equipment suppliers having installed production sites in the country. There is a clear increase in foreign investors participating in the domestic market.

Some of these investments will be of particular relevance for New Zealand´s technology companies with their products being used in military, first responder organisations, public service departments like the police, and by large telecommunication companies and utility companies.

Specialised manufacturing

Electrical machinery and equipment

Brazil offers an excellent opportunity for New Zealand´s companies willing to expand their access to global and regional supply chains. New Zealand manufacturers of mechanical and electrical components, monitoring equipment, instrumentation and process machinery will find both multinational and national companies with global supply chain procurement in Brazil.

Medical instruments and equipments

This sector has particular market potential for New Zealand companies specialising in high-tech medical, dental and laboratory equipment. It is one of the few industrial sectors where local production is almost entirely dedicated to the domestic market, heavily reliant on quality imports, with imports exceeding US$3 billion per year since 2010. However, special attention needs to be dedicated to Anvisa (Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency) requirements before entering the country with products from this sector.

Meat and dairy processing

With a population of more than 200 million, and being a tremendous source of meat and poultry production, as well as a significant player in the global market for food products, Brazil presents a great opportunity for New Zealand processing equipment manufacturers focused on the dairy and meat industries.

The Brazilian meat industry is open to meat processing technologies that can improve quality and reduce costs. Companies wishing to sell into this sector need to consider their strategy as trade barriers and costs can be better managed by working via joint ventures or manufacturing in-market under license.

Aviation equipment

Brazil is one of the largest aviation markets in the world. To supply both the domestic airline and local industry, Brazil imports significant amounts of parts and components, which may be seen as an interesting opportunity for New Zealand exporters who supply special equipment, devices and maintenance services to this industry.


Brazil will host major international events such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games and the country is in need of infrastructure development. Government incentive programmes are stimulating accelerated upgrades in preparation for these events. Spending is expected to exceed US$100 billion for all areas of infrastructure including transportation, construction, port improvements, airport infrastructure upgrades and public security. Public and private sector infrastructure build offers great growth potential for New Zealand companies specialising in engineering and architecture, planning, consultancy, project management, logistics and airport infrastructure.

Oil and gas

Recently-discovered reserves and the huge potential for new discoveries are attracting investment in offshore oil and gas exploration and production. This may provide interesting opportunities for New Zealand companies operating in or supplying products or services to this sector. Two thirds of offshore areas are to be opened to bidding for exploration and development in the forthcoming years, with investment estimated in this sector of US$330 billion over the next 10 years.

Food and beverage

This sector had an estimated worth of US$1.5 trillion in 2011. The Brazilian consumer market is the largest in Latin America and the seventh largest in the world. It has one of the fastest-growing per capita consumer expenditures, increasing on average by 5.3 percent per year over the last seven years. Brazilian consumers are becoming more sophisticated, presenting opportunities for New Zealand's high quality dairy, wine, meat and beverage companies, among others.

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