On 16 October 2020, the Brazilian government suspended the tariffs on imports of soybeans, soy meals and soy oils until 15 January 2021 and on imports of maize grain until 31 March 2021.
Normally, imports of maize and soybeans from non-Mercosur countries are subject to an 8 percent import duty, while those of soy meals and soy oils to 6 percent and 10 percent tariff, respectively. The measure seeks to boost national supplies and limit price increases. Prices of soy products and maize have been increasing sharply since end-2019, despite the record outputs of soybeans and maize in 2020, mainly driven by an uptick in domestic and export demand. The sustained depreciation of the national currency, which had lost nearly 40 percent of its value over the past 12 months as of mid-October 2020, supported the strong foreign demand. Although a further increase in plantings of the 2021 soybeans and maize crops is officially forecast, there are concerns that the final area sown may be impacted by a delay in planting operations on account of adversely dry conditions. The temporary removal of import duties follows other measures (FPMA Food Policies and GIEWS Country Brief) that the government has taken in the past months to tackle the high prices of grains, including rice and wheat.