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Brazilian Competition in the Face of Chinese Competition: Economic Competitiveness, Restructuring and Employment

DEV Key Contact: Rhys Jenkins
Project Dates: 2010 to 2011
Project Status: Complete


Brazil is the Latin American country where the impact of the growing role of China in the global economy has been most varied and complex.  As a major exporter of primary commodities, particularly iron ore, soybeans and now oil, it has seen exports to China boom and prices on world markets rise. It has also recently seen growing investment by Chinese firms particularly in commodity producing sectors. However Brazil also has a developed and integrated manufacturing sector which grew up under import substitution during the half century from the 1930s. The growth of China presents Brazilian industry with new challenges, both in the domestic market as a result of increased imports from China and in its major export markets where Brazilian manufacturers compete with Chinese products.

Penetration of the Brazilian market by Chinese goods has increased rapidly since the mid-2000s, but this has been partly at the expense of imports from other countries. In some sectors however there is evidence of displacement of domestic production and a negative impact on employment, although in terms of overall employment the effect is relatively small.  Brazilian manufacturers have also been losing market share to China in its major export markets in Latin America such as Argentina and Chile. These impacts have affected a range of industries and are not confined to low tech or labour-intensive products.

DEV Researchers: Rhys Jenkins

Partner Organisations: Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento, Sao Paulo

Selected Outputs

Brazilian Manufacturing in the Face of Chinese Competition, DEV Research Briefing 2, 2010.

R. Jenkins, "China and Brazil: Economic Impacts of a Growing Relationship", in: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 2012, 41, 1, 21-47.

R. Jenkins and A. Barbosa, "Fear for manufacturing? China and the future of Industry in Brazil and Latin America", China Quarterly, 2012, pp.59-81

Jenkins, R. (2014), "Chinese Competition and Brazilian Exports of Manufactures" in Oxford Development Studies, 42. pp. 395-418