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Economy, Manufacturing

advanced industries, imported manufactures, domestic capital, Porto Alegre, Campinas

The manufacturing sector has been a key to Brazil’s economic development, with periods of rapid growth, especially in the late 1950s and the 1970s. A major objective of Brazil’s industrialization policy was to replace imported manufactures with Brazilian-made ones. As a result, industry has become highly diversified, including a range of high-technology and heavy industries. This diversification includes such manufactured items as food, drink, textiles, clothing, vehicles, and chemicals. Industrialization has involved a mixed pattern of investment by domestic capital; by the government in areas such as steel, petrochemicals, and aircraft; and by foreign capital in the manufacture of automobiles, chemicals, and electrical goods. As a result, Brazil is one of the world’s major steel producers and car manufacturers. The vehicle industry has developed since 1956, with Fiat, Ford, General Motors, and Volkswagen as the largest firms.

In terms of employment, the leading industries are food and metal processing, automobiles, chemicals, and textiles; in terms of sales, the order is chemicals, foodstuffs, metals, vehicles, and engineering. Industry is highly concentrated geographically: Forty percent of all industrial activity takes place in the state of Sao Paulo. The leading concentrations of industry are metropolitan Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Campinas, Porto Alegre, and Belo Horizonte. The more dynamic and technologically advanced industries are also highly concentrated in these locations.

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