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Revista de Economia e Sociologia Rural

Print version ISSN 0103-2003On-line version ISSN 1806-9479


ESCHER, Fabiano  and  WILKINSON, John. The political economy of the Brazil-China Soy-Meat Complex. Rev. Econ. Sociol. Rural [online]. 2019, vol.57, n.4, pp.656-678.  Epub Nov 28, 2019. ISSN 1806-9479.


The argument developed in the paper, based on the food regime approach, is that the formation of the “Brazil-China soy-meat complex”, from the early 2000s, represents a polycentric shift in global agri-food relations, driven by the interests of agribusiness corporations and food industries, as well as national states, in a South/East direction, which challenges the established power of the large North Atlantic transnational corporations. Based on the contemporary literature in agrarian political economy and in a combination of quantitative and qualitative data, we identify the origins, characteristics and dynamics of the Brazil-China soy-meat complex through a comparative and relational analysis. After a brief theoretical review, we examine the change in eating habits and class diets and the restructuring of meat (especially pork) and feed industries on the Chinese side, as an importing pole, and the commodities boom and the expansion in production, planted area and shipments of soybean on the Brazilian side, as an exporting pole. However, despite de importance of bilateral trade to the dynamics of the Brazil-China soy-meat complex, recently there has also been an increasing influx of Chinese investments in the Brazilian agribusiness. In the conclusions, beyond strict economic aspects, political aspects of the Brazil-China soy-meat complex are discussed.

Keywords : Brazil-China soy-meat complex; food regime; agribusiness; agricultural international trade; foreign direct investments.

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