Bilateral relations

Brazil is Australia’s 30th largest trading partner. Total goods and services trade amounted to $3.4 billion in 2018 or 0.4% of Australia’s trade portfolio.

Brazil is Australia’s largest export market in Latin America by a significant margin. Goods exports to Brazil totalled $1.1 billion in 2019, comprising mostly coal (70% of goods exports) and aluminium. Most goods imports from Brazil include civil engineering equipment, medicines and coffee. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted bilateral trade in 2020.

Australian service exports to Brazil amounted to $1.2 billion in 2019, dominated by education-related services. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated international travel restrictions disproportionately hurt services trade in 2020. Ongoing international travel restrictions points to another challenging year for services exports in 2021.   

Brazil remains the 4th largest source of international students in Australia behind China, India and Nepal. Prior to the pandemic, more than 40,000 Brazilian students enrolled in Australian institutions in 2018 and 2019. Australia’s top eight universities (Group of 8) have signed agreements with two Brazilian government agencies promoting Brazilian enrolments in Australian universities. Weak economic activity, high unemployment and low job availability in Brazil has prompted more Brazilians to study overseas in recent years.

Prior to the COVID-19 shock, the number of Brazilian tourists visiting Australia more than doubled over the ten years to 2019 – almost 58,000 Brazilians travelled to Australia in 2019.

More than 75 Australian companies operate in Brazil in a wide range of sectors, including advanced manufacturing (Amcor), agribusiness (Macquarie), engineering services (Worley), financial services (Macquarie) mining (BHP Billiton), plasma products and vaccines (CSL), and retail clothing (Cotton On, Billabong, Rip Curl), among others.

More than half of Australia’s foreign direct investment in Latin America is in Brazil. Brazil’s growing infrastructure needs and large mining and agricultural industries presents opportunities for Australian firms. A 2017 report from Pricewaterhouse Coopers projects Brazil will become the world’s fifth largest economy by 2050 thanks to its favourable demographics and expanding middle class. This will likely create opportunities for Australian firms engaged in transportation, financial and insurance services and waste management sectors. Meanwhile, Brazilian companies continue to expand operations and invest in Australia, in part to benefit from Australia’s extensive free-trade network in Asia.