BEIJING, Jan. 6 -- China overtook the United States as the biggest buyer of Brazilian products in 2009, the Brazilian industry and trade ministry said on Monday.
China imported products valued at $19.9 billion from Brazil, while the US bought $15.7 billion worth of goods, Foreign Trade Secretary Welber Barral said when presenting the annual commercial report.
The US was the largest buyer of Brazilian products in 2008, purchasing $27.6 billion, while China's imports from the country were $16.4 billion.
China is increasing imports as the Asian country has been less affected than the US by the international financial crisis, according to Barral.
However, he predicted the US imports would pick up soon. "In 2010, the United States could again become the main destination of Brazilian products," though they were unlikely to reach the 2008 level, Barral said.
According to the estimation of the International Monetary Fund, the US economy would likely grow by 1.5 percent in 2010.
Efforts will be made to boost the US market to make up for the "sharp drop" in 2009, Barral said.