© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Two combines harvest wheat near Moree, Australia, October 27, 2020. Picture taken October 27, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Barrett
By Gabriel Araujo and Ana Mano
SAO PAULO (Reuters) -The Brazilian and Australian governments have opened talks aimed at forging new agricultural trade agreements after representatives of both countries met this week, the Brazilian agriculture ministry said in a statement on Friday.
While Brazil aims to export pork to Australia, the South American country could start importing Australian wheat and barley under a potential future pact, the statement said.
Brazil is a net wheat importer and the world’s fourth biggest pork exporter, being home to some of the world’s largest meatpackers.
Brazil’s main supplier of imported wheat is Argentina, though its own internal production is growing as the country seeks to become self-sufficient in the staple.
Last week, Brazil became the second country in the world to approve cultivation and sale of drought-tolerant genetically modified wheat, which would allow farmers to plant it in drier areas like the Cerrado biome.
To implement an agricultural agreement, Brazil and Australia must first negotiate a reduction of bilateral trade tariffs at the World Trade Organization, according to the ministry’s statement.
Abitrigo, a Brazilian trade group representing flour millers, said in a separate statement it also met Australian government representatives to share information on the Brazilian wheat market.
The trade group said it was in favor of diversifying sources of wheat imports, adding this would be beneficial to Brazilian flour millers.
Sophie Davis, Australia’s ambassador to Brazil, met Brazilian Agriculture Ministry Carlos Favaro on Wednesday, the agriculture ministry’s statement said.
Aside from liberalizing trade, the pair also discussed sustainable agriculture projects and opportunities for research cooperation in the field.