Dr. Oliveira interviewed by the South China Morning Post

China urged to diversify soybean sources to curb reliance on US

Jun Mai, South China Morning Post, May 22, 2020


Li’s proposal [that China should diversity soy imports from the US and Brazil] would also be difficult to implement because of China’s industrialisation and concentration of livestock production, according to Gustavo Oliveira, an assistant professor with the University of California, Irvine, who tracks global soybean production.

“The main difficulty faced by China is about the continued industrialisation and concentration of livestock production, which guarantees that demand for soy-based livestock feed outpaces China’s capacity for domestic production and procurement from countries besides Brazil and the US,” he said.

For the full report, see: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3085579/china-urged-diversify-soybean-sources-curb-over-reliance-us

Dr. Oliveira interviewed by Sputnik News (Beijing)

Brazilian expert: The “Belt and Road Initiative” is good for Brazil but the country should defend its own interests

Dr. Oliveira interviewed by Sputnik News (Beijing), the Russian Satellite News Agency, Beijing office.

Evgenii Aferin, Sputnik News Agency Beijing, November 20, 2019

Excerpts from original English statements provided by Gustavo Oliveira

Gustavo Oliveira, an assistant professor in the Department of Global and International Studies at the University of California, Irvine, said: “Some Brazilian sectors welcome the BRI, especially agribusiness, mining, and logistics (especially ports), since they already have strong market access to China and seek improved infrastructure to facilitate exports.”

Oliveira pointed out that “the Brazilian government wants to attract Chinese capital and partners while retaining control over the projects and priorities in the initiative.”

Oliveira also said that “other industries are skeptical about the ‘Belt and Road’ because Brazilian industrial enterprises and production infrastructure companies regard Chinese companies as their main competitors. The current Brazilian government is trying to coordinate these conflicting interests, arguing they ‘welcome the synergies’ between China’s BRI and Brazil’s own national projects for infrastructure construction.”

For the full length interview (in Chinese), see:


Dr. Oliveira interviewed on the Belt and Road Podcast

Soy and Sinophobia: China’s Place in Brazilian Agribusiness

Dr. Gustavo Oliveira talks about Chinese agribusiness investments in Brazil, the rising importance of the soy trade between the two countries, and the ways domestic and international business interests have fanned the flames of Sinophobia for strategic gains. Dr. Oliveira is a Brazilian scholar and activist and an Assistant Professor of Global & International Studies at University of California, Irvine.

The Belt and Road Podcast covers the latest news, research and analysis of China’s growing presence in the developing world. It is produced by Erik Myxter-Iino (Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions) and Juliet Lu (University of California, Berkeley).

For the full 71 minute interview, see:


Belt and Road Podcast, Episode 19

October 21, 2019

SCMP: China needs a new strategy to deal with Brazil’s new right-wing president

Dr. Oliveira writes for the South China Morning Post.

While the newly elected Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro campaigned on an anti-China platform, Beijing still has reasons, many of them trade-related, to maintain good relations.

To aid the return to more China-friendly administrations in Brazil, China’s government will deal pragmatically with the new administration, but the Communist Party should strengthen ties with the Brazilian left.

For the full length column, see: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/2181854/china-needs-new-strategy-deal-brazils-new-right-wing-president

Dr. Oliveira interviewed by the South China Morning Post

Why the China-US trade war truce could be a raw deal for Brazil’s soybean farmers

Keegan Elmer, South China Morning Post, Dec. 4, 2018


US President Donald Drumpf and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed on the weekend to halt any further increases in tariffs for 90 days to try to hammer out trade differences between the two countries. China also promised to buy more US agricultural products, sending down prices for soybeans from Brazil and other sources around the world.

“Instead of being a boon for the Brazilian farmers, [the deal] would be a total bane,” said Gustavo Oliveira, assistant professor of global studies at the University of California, Irvine.


A deal between Beijing and Washington could turn that bumper harvest into a soybean glut.

Oliveira said Brazilian farmers also faced higher input costs this year, like transport, and planted their crops in expectation of high prices, he added.  In the meantime, the depletion of Brazilian soybean supplies meant that China would likely soon have to return to buying the US crop, he said.


Oliveira said continued uncertainty in the China-US relationship and the trade war would cause headaches for farmers around the world. “Farmers are used to dealing with the uncertainty of the weather, and some uncertainty in international markets is expected, but 25 per cent up or down on the price of one of the world’s two largest producers is really dramatic uncertainty. And the possibility that this could be removed, exactly as Brazilian crops go on the market, that’s what’s frustrating for everyone,” he said.

For the full report, see: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/2176373/why-china-us-trade-war-truce-could-be-raw-deal-brazils-soybean

Dr. Oliveira interviewed by Brasil de Fato

Entenda como a guerra comercial entre EUA e China afeta os agricultores brasileiros

Júlia Dolce, Brasil de Fato, July 31, 2018

Excerpts translated by Gustavo Oliveira.


The geographer and assistant professor of Global and International Studies at the University of California, Irvine, Gustavo Oliveira, however, points out that all these perspectives do not take into account benefits or losses for small farmers and the Brazilian working class.

“The big problem in the way this subject is being talked about in the media is to treat countries as if they were a single bloc with unique interests. In the short term, the fact that there are two major soy exporters: Brazil and the US, and one biggest buyer, China, which is failing to buy from the US, has raised the price of domestic soybeans [in Brazil], but this is not necessarily good for people who are not in the soy sector,” he says.

Oliveira researches political ecology, agribusiness and trade relations between Brazil and China, and will hold a visiting professor position at Beijing University later this year. In an interview with Brazil de Fato, he stressed that the potential trade crisis should lead to an in-depth analysis of the form of production and foreign relations that the country has been maintaining.

“In fact, if this moment of crisis led Brazil to start dismantling this dependence on soy and agribusiness, then this could be a positive thing, it could lead to new relations, independent not only of the US, but of the form of production that links us to global capitalism, whether from the USA or from elsewhere,” he says.


For the full interview in Portuguese, see: https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2018/07/31/entenda-como-a-guerra-comercial-entre-eua-e-china-afeta-os-agricultores-brasileiros

Dr. Oliveira interviewed by BBC Brazil on the impacts of the US-China trade war on Brazil

Como a guerra comercial entre EUA e China pode afetar o Brasil

(How the trade war between the US and China may affect Brazil)

Excerpts translated by Gustavo de L. T. Oliveira


Gustavo Oliveira (…) believes that the two countries should reach agreement on these tariff issues in months. “What is happening is a realignment, in which you have less US exports to China and more exports from Brazil and other countries to China.”


Gustavo Oliveira explains that China can not count on Brazilian soybeans to replace the American, since Brazil directs much of the national production (43 million tons) to feed the domestic market. Brazilian exports suffer from political instability, as demonstrated by the recent national truck drivers strike. In addition, China imports almost two-thirds of the world’s soy production. “Brazil and the US each export more than a third, and all other countries added account for less than a third. Taking the US or Brazil out of the equation basically means having to get all the soy from the rest of the world and all the Brazil to serve the Chinese market. All importers other than China would have to import exclusively from the US. This is an unrealistic situation due to various logistical, market and contract issues,” says the researcher.


For Oliveira (…) to think about the impact of the commercial war with an analysis restricted to agribusiness is to assume that everything that favors the sector is good for the country. “It’s not that simple,” he says. “This is a conversation that has taken place within a framework that treats Brazilian agribusiness, steelmaking and mining as the equivalent of Brazil’s interest.” Yet a major crisis for Brazilian agribusiness can be a good thing for thousands of landless families, for millions of small farmers, and for many other sectors of Brazilian society that have a different view of agribusiness development,” Oliveira said in Beijing.

The friction between China and the US shows how vulnerable Brazil is, being a major exporter of agricultural products and minerals. “It is very exposed to the advances and setbacks of negotiations between Beijing and Washington, in which Brazilian companies and state do not even have any weight. Brazil is hostage to a neocolonial model.”

For the full length report in Portuguese, see: https://noticias.r7.com/economia/como-a-guerra-comercial-entre-eua-e-china-pode-afetar-o-brasil-07072018

SCMP: Why China can’t count on Brazil to fill the soybean gap in its trade battle with the US

Dr. Oliveira writes for the South China Morning Post.

Differences in the timing of planting and harvest in the northern and southern hemisphere allow China to avoid US soy for now, but domestic demand in Brazil and higher transportation costs will limit its capacity to backup China’s soy demand by December, when Chinese buyers will be forced to purchase US soy despite tariffs.

For the full length column, see: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2152109/why-china-cant-count-brazil-fill-soybean-gap-its-trade