SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL — Brazil’s government is considering temporarily removing import tariffs on rice, corn and soybeans, according to statement released by the Agriculture Ministry on Aug. 27.
The action is being considered to counter recent rising prices of rice, soybeans and corn in the domestic market.
Brazil, which has become China’s biggest soybean supplier, has exported almost all of its soybeans and plans to increase imports this year.
Brazil’s partners in South America’s Mercosur trade bloc, which are exempt from import taxes, said Brazil’s temporary removal of import tariffs cannot be carried out unilaterally. Although they would stand to gain from increased Brazilian soybean imports, they would likely lose market share to countries such as the United States if tariffs were temporarily removed.
“Brazil cannot unilaterally change its tariffs,” Paraguay Deputy Agriculture Minister Santiago Bertoni told Reuters. “It has to do it through talks with the other Mercosur countries.”
The tariff exemption is expected to be discussed by Brazil’s trade management committee, known as Gecex and presided over by the Economy Ministry, in September.
Brazil is estimated by the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service to have exported a record 93.5 million tonnes of soybeans in 2019-20. Brazil has increased its shipments to China during the trade war between the United States and China, which began in 2017.