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Economy

Cheap Chinese Imports Invade Brazil’s Patron Saint Market

Chinese manufacturers have figured out a way to cash in on Brazilian Catholicism, flooding the market with inexpensive images of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil’s patron saint. Local producers can’t compete, and want the government to intervene.

On sale: Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil's patron saint (D'Amico Rodrigo)
On sale: Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil's patron saint (D'Amico Rodrigo)

*NEWSBITES

It's not easy to be Catholic in China. But it is easy to make money from Catholicism. And for Chinese manufacturers keen to cash in on the religion, there's no better market than Brazil, whose ports are bursting with containers filled with Chinese-made images of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil's patron saint.

Local producers, however, are now praying for help, saying there's no way they can compete with their Chinese counterparts, who are able to churn out the patron saint far more cheaply. Although they haven't yet filed an official complaint to the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, when they do, it will open a new chapter in the two countries' trade disputes.

According the Roberto Lerner Barth, president of the Commission for the Defense of Brazilian Industry, China has several strategies in place to deal with unfair competition claims. One is to create false certificates of origin. For example, before sending products to Brazil, they will send the shipment to India or Malaysia, and get a new certificate of origin. This is to avoid the anti-dumping surcharge that Brazil imposes on Chinese products.

Experts say that the government knows which products are most vulnerable to this type of manipulation, and are monitoring their importation. Whether Brazilian authorities turn their attention to Our Lady of Aparecida remains to be seen. Local producers of the favorite religious image are hoping for an intervention – divine or otherwise – before the Chinese products drive them out of business.

Read more from AméricaEconomía in Spanish

Photo - D'Amico Rodrigo

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Geopolitics

NATO Entry For Sweden And Finland? Erdogan May Not Be Bluffing

When the two Nordic countries confirmed their intention to join NATO this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his plans to block the application. Accusing Sweden and Finland of' "harboring" some of his worst enemies may not allow room for him to climb down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO

Meike Eijsberg

-Analysis-

LONDON — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO, it took most of the West's top diplomatic experts by surprise — with the focus squarely on how Russia would react to having two new NATO members in the neighborhood. (So far, that's been a surprise too)

But now Western oversight on Turkey's stance has morphed into a belief in some quarters that Erdogan is just bluffing, trying to get concessions from the negotiations over such a key geopolitical issue.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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To be clear, any prospective NATO member requires the consent of all 30 member states and their parliaments. So Erdogan does indeed have a card to play, which is amplified by the sense of urgency: NATO, Sweden and Finland are keen to complete the accession process with the war in Ukraine raging and the prospect of strengthening the military alliance's position around the Baltic Sea.

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