SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL — Traditionally one of the world’s largest grain and oilseed producers, Brazil is importing agricultural commodities, including soybeans, due to a rise in domestic prices, President Jair Bolsonaro said in a video posted on social media on Oct. 29.
Rising grain prices have added to food costs, fueling inflation in Brazil.
“We are importing soy now because the price is going up,” Bolsonaro said.
There have been unconfirmed reports that the United States, which competes with Brazil for the top spot in soybean production and exports, had sold at least one cargo of soybeans recently.
Abiove, the Brazilian oilseeds crusher industry group, told Reuters it could not confirm whether US soybeans had been sold to Brazil, but its president, Andre Nassar, said some group members confirmed there are companies trying to import soybeans from the United States.
He cautioned, however, that importing would require approval of certain genetically modified soy traits that are authorized in the United States but not in Brazil.
The Brazilian government also is actively seeking to import a larger-than-usual quantity of rice and, in a decision announced last month, exempted a quota of 400,000 tonnes of rice from outside the Mercosur trade bloc from import duties through the end of 2020.
Bolsonaro said Brazil had imported 400,000 tonnes from the United States, but government data and private sources said sales were not that large.