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Map of Brazil

Map of Brazil.
flag of the Federative Republic of Brazil.

Federative Republic of Brazil

Relationship with New Zealand

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [1]

New Zealand and Brazil have a friendly and developing relationship with many areas of common interest, both bilaterally and multilaterally. New Zealand has had diplomatic relations with Brazil for several decades.  Bilateral relations have strengthened considerably since the launch of the New Zealand Government’s Latin American Strategy in August 2000, and the establishment of the NewZealand Embassy in Brazil in 2001 - one of the key elements of the Strategy.  New Zealand and Brazil work together in a number of multilateral processes, notably the WTO and Climate Change negotiations.

Brazil opened an Embassy in Wellington in early 1997. In recognition of increasing trade opportunities for New Zealand in Brazil, the Trade Development Board (now NZTE) opened an office in São Paulo, Brazil in 1999.

Two way bilateral trade remains at modest levels (NZ$160.2 year ended June 2011). However, merchandise trade levels significantly understate the value of the bilateral economic relationship, which is heavily based on investment, technology licensing agreements and trade in services.

More than 11,500 Brazilians visited New Zealand in 2010, an increase of more than 35% over the past five years. Around 3,500 Brazilians now study in New Zealand each year.  There is a valuable flow of Ministerial and official visitors.

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Trade and economic links

Business links

New Zealand business interests in Brazil are primarily focused in the agriculture sector (including dairying, agricultural technology, consultancies, genetics), information and communications technology (including mobile applications), and services (including education, tourism, investment advisory services, environmental services and agricultural and land use services).

In November 2009, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Latin America-NewZealand Business Council hosted a series of Brazil Business Forums in New Zealand.  Attended by around 200 businesspeople, the Forums raised awareness of the potential for New Zealand businesses to grow in Brazil while encouraging companies to be realistic about the constraints they would face.  These were followed in July 2010 by a series of Brazil-New Zealand Intellectual Property Seminars involving intellectual property experts from Brazil.

In October 2010, the Minister of Trade Tim Groser, led a delegation of ten NewZealand businesses to the Brazil-New Zealand “Business Encounter” co-hosted by the São Paulo Federation of Industries (FIESP). The event highlighted New Zealand as an innovative and serious business partner for Brazilian companies and the opportunities in Brazil for NewZealand companies.  During the afternoon session a range of NewZealand and Brazilian companies discussed specific business opportunities.

Trade access

New Zealand’s exports (NZ$57 million (year ending December 2011)) are mainly electrical radio-telephone products, agriculture equipment, milking machines and dairy machinery, dishwashers and other machinery.  New Zealand’s imports from Brazil (NZ$156 miillion (year ending December 2011)) are dominated by sugars, soya cake, soybean oil and other soy derivatives, fruit juice, coffee, tobacco, transport equipment and machinery.

Given the similarity of principal items of export interest to Brazil and NewZealand, trade in goods is not expected to increase significantly in the coming years. Instead, the economic relationship is likely to be dominated increasingly by investment (in both directions), licensing of technologies, and sale of services.

Dairy products traditionally dominated New Zealand’s exports to Brazil, but the value of this trade declined significantly following Fonterra’s investment in processing facilities through its joint venture Dairy Partners Americas (DPA), launched in 2003. DPA is headquartered in Brazil.  It currently operates in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador, and hopes ultimately to expand operations to the whole of the Americas.

Investment, Agriculture and Petroleum

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Agriculture accounts for eight percent of Brazil’s GDP (increasing to 25 percent when including agribusiness) and 36 percent of exports. Globally, Brazil is the world’s largest net agricultural exporter, and the world’s largest exporter of beef, poultry, orange juice, coffee, tobacco, ethanol, and sugar.

New Zealand is developing significant investments in the Brazilian agricultural sector. These are led by Fonterra’s investment in its dairy processing joint venture, Dairy Partners Americas. Investment is taking place in the agritech sector (meat and by-product processing), in dairy farming, and in the hospitality sector in São Paulo, Brazil.

In June 2010, Brazilian oil giant, Petrobras won a five-year oil and gas exploration permit for the Raukumara basin off NewZealand’s North Island.  Petrobras’ investment is a significant step forward in NewZealand and Brazil’s economic relationship.

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People to people links

Education and exchange programmes

Brazil is New Zealand’s ninth largest education market and the largest source of students for New Zealand in South America. More than 3000 Brazilians studied in New Zealand in 2011, the majority in the final year of secondary school or at English language schools on courses of varying length.  The Brazilian education market is estimated to be worth at least NZ$57million per year to NewZealand.

Brazil is an important export education market. The range of options now available for Brazilianstudents to study in NewZealand is attracting considerable interest more broadly in Brazil in New Zealand as a study destination.

Several NewZealand secondary schools and universities have made joint or independent visits to Brazil to develop bilateral linkages with Brazilian institutions, and most New Zealand universities - notably Auckland, Otago, Lincoln and Massey - have cooperation agreements with Brazilian counterparts at university or faculty level. Victoria University has established courses on Brazilian studies and Portuguese language.

Science and technology

In November 2001, NewZealand and Brazil signed a memorandum of understanding to guide scientific and technological cooperation, although most collaboration currently underway between the two countries takes place at individual researcher level. In 2007 there were two government-sponsored missions to Brazil; one to explore the scope for collaboration with Brazil on research into biofuels, and the other to promote, successfully, Brazilian participation in the Livestock Emissions Agricultural Research Network (LEARN), an international research network promoted by New Zealand to harness global research into agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.  Brazil is an observer at meetings of Global Research Alliance (GRA) on agricultural greenhouse gas research.

Tourism and Immigration

Visitor numbers from Brazil have increased steadily over the last five years. More than 11,500 Brazilians visit New Zealand annually, with numbers increasing by more than 10% per year on average for the past four years. Brazil accounts for more than half of all South American visitors to New Zealand.

A visa waiver agreement is in force, which permits New Zealanders and Brazilians travelling to each other’s country to do so without a visa for up to 90 days. A working holiday scheme was signed with Brazil in August 2008.  The treaty was ratified at the end of 2009 by the Brazilian national Congress.  When fully implemented, this will permit up to 300 young New Zealanders and Brazilians to work while holidaying in each others’ countries, for a period of up to 12 months. 

There are no direct air links between New Zealand and Brazil, although the legal framework to start air services between Brazil and New Zealand is in place (a 1996 Air Services Agreement). The most direct routes are operated by LanChile (via Santiago, Chile) and Qantas (via Santiago, Buenos Aires and Sydney).

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Cultural links

Cultural links expanded significantly since the launch of the Latin America Strategy in 2000:



Political links

Multilateral links

Brazil and NewZealand have a history of working closely together in international contexts, not least in the WTO, in efforts to liberalise agricultural trade. Both are members of the Cairns Group and are also founding members of the ‘New Agenda’ initiative on nuclear disarmament. Brazil and New Zealand also maintain regular contact on human rights, environment (where both countries share interests regarding agriculture emissions in the area of climate change), Law of the Sea, whaling and Antarctic issues.

Development assistance

The New Zealand Aid Programme runs a Latin America Development Programme which supports scholarships for Brazilian students, study tours and grants for Brazilian NGOs, with a focus on initiatives to improve governance and support sustainable rural livelihoods.

In addition, the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil maintains a small Head of Mission Fund, currently NZ$75,000 annually, to support small projects in Brazil. Projects supported under the fund have included a range of village level food processing operations, micro-credit programmes, and mobile surgical clinics operating in the Amazon.  The current focus is on support for primary and secondary level public education.

See full details of the development relationship are on the New Zealand Aid Programme website.

Defence ties

New Zealand does not have a formal defence relationship with Brazil. Both countries participate in United Nations peacekeeping missions in Timor-Leste and Sudan. A meeting between then Defence Minister Hon Phil Goff and the Brazilian Ministry of Defence in September 2007 was the most senior contact in some years. Potential areas for future cooperation are in the civil aviation sector (which is run by Brazil’s military) and training for peacekeeping operations.


Recent visits by high level New Zealanders to Brazil

Recent visits by high level Brazilians to New Zealand

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Key facts


Official Name - Federative Republic of Brazil
Land Area – 8,511,965 sq km
Population – 193 million (2011)
Capital City – Brasília
Religion – Roman Catholic 73%, Protestant 15%
Official Language – Portuguese
Currency – Real
Exchange Rate – US$1 = R$1.67 (May 2012)


Political system – Federal Republic
National government – Loose alliance comprised of left of centre and a range of other parties: PT, PMDB, PDT, PPS, PL, PSB, PCdoB.
National legislature – Congress comprising 513-member Chamber of Deputies and 81-member Senate.
Last election – October 2010
Next election due – October 2014
Head of State – President Dilma Rousseff
Head of Government – President  Dilma Rousseff

Key Ministers –

Finance - Guido Mantega

Foreign Affairs - Antonio Patriota

Agriculture - Wagner Rossi

Development, Industry & Trade - Fernando Pimentel

Justice - Jose Eduardo Cardozo

Environment - Izabella Teixeira

Defence - Nelson Jobim

Other Key figures –

Pres. Chamber of Deputies: Marco Maia (PT)

Pres. of Senate: José Sarney (PMDB)

Pres. of the Central Bank: Alexander Tombini

Main political parties –

Government alliance:




US$2,473.5 billion (2011 estimate)

GDP Per Capita (PPP)

US$11,906 (2011 estimate)

Real GDP Growth

7..6% (2010), 7.2% (2011 estimate),


US$256billion (2011 estimate)


US$226billion (2011 estimate)

Main exports

Aircraft, Vehicles & Parts, Soybean Products, Ores and Metals, Petroleum Products, Chemicals, Meat, Sugar and Ethanol.

Main imports

Machinery and Electrical Equipment, Chemical Products, Oil and Derivatives, Transport Equipment and Parts

Foreign direct investment inflows

2.4% of GDP (2011)

Forex reserves

US$352billion (2011) US$244billion (April 2010)

Consumer Price Inflation

6.5% (2011 estimate)

Gross external debt (public and private)

US$397 billion (2011 estimate)

Trade balance

US$30 billion (2011 estimate)

Current account

- US$52.5 billion (2011 estimate)

(Sources: Economist Intelligence Unit)

Trade with New Zealand

New Zealand/Brazil top 20 trade figures are available from Statistics New Zealand.  

Exports to Brazil (FOB)

NZ$57 million (year ending December 2011)

Main exports

Casein, telephones for cellular networks, machines and mechanical appliances, agricultural machinery, and milking machines and dairy machinery

Imports from Brazil (CIF)

NZ$156 miillion (year ending December 2011)

Main imports:

Fruit, soybean products, medicants, coffee, and tobacco


The New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia is responsible for Brazil.

The Brazilian Embassy in Wellington is responsible for New Zealand.

Travel advice

The New Zealand government's Safe Travel website has comprehensive travel information including advice on the safety and security of travel to Brazil.

Further enquiries may be directed to:

Consular Division
Tel: +64 4 439 8000
Fax: +64 4 439 8532

New Zealanders and Brazilians travelling to each other's country for less than three months do not need to apply for a visa beforehand.


The New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia is responsible for Brazil [external link].

The Brazilian Embassy in Wellington is responsible for New Zealand.

Travel advice

The New Zealand government's Safe Travel website has comprehensive travel information including advice on the safety and security of travel to Brazil [external link].

Further enquiries may be directed to:

Consular Division

Tel: +64 4 439 8000
Fax: +64 4 439 8532


New Zealanders and Brazilians travelling to each other's country for less than three months do not need to apply for a visa beforehand.


[1] Christ the Redeemer is a statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world. The statue is 39.6 metres (130 ft) tall, including its 9.5 meter (31 feet) pedestal, and 30 metres (98 ft) wide.

Photo cortesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Brazil.

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Page last updated: Monday, 09 December 2013 13:00 NZDT