The composition of the export agenda of Brazil and particularly of Rio Grande do Sul was influenced in the last decade by the strong entry of China into the international market. The intense demand of that country for agricultural commodities contributed to increase state exports of primary products, which are characterized by low added value and little technological intensity.
In this sense, in relation to the composition of Brazilian and state exports, in recent years it has been observed an increase in the share of commodities - which reveals their good performance, but also a tendency to lose competitiveness in other sectors of production of goods and services, thus opening space for the so-called primarization of the export agenda*. Proof of this is that, over the last decade, important sectors exporting labor-intensive products from RS have been hit by new levels of competitiveness in the international market, showing a sharp decline, with the traditional footwear industry having the greatest weight in this retraction. However, from 2013 on manufacture of transportation equipment and motor vehicles increased its export values, and the footwear sector showed a slight recovery.
Soybean is the main product on the export agenda of Rio Grande do Sul. In 2017 it accounted for 26% of the total, totaling 4.3 billion US$ FOB. In sequence, with lower values come tobacco, frozen rooster/chicken/pork meats and bagasse and other residues from the extraction of soybean oil. The list also includes manufactured goods such as automobiles.
Concerning the participation in exports, among the municipalities of RS, Rio Grande, Porto Alegre, Triunfo and Gravataí stand out. All with over US $ 1 billion FOB.
The main transportation route for exports of state products is the sea and the Port of Rio Grande, reaching a value of 12 billion US $ FOB. Second is the road transport with exit by Uruguaiana. Other localities in other states also export state products. Itajaí in Santa Catarina (sea route), Guarulhos and São Paulo in São Paulo (by air) and Foz do Iguaçu in Paraná (by road) are the main points with value above 400 thousand US $ FOB.
* IPEA. Exportações - O avanço das commodities. In: Revista Desafios do Desenvolvimento Ano 9. nº 74. 2012.