Elaine Patricia Cruz, Reporter Agência Brasil
São Paulo – This weekend Brazilian and Chinese businessmen met in São Paulo to discuss investment opportunities. Representatives of the two groups declared that there was a strong desire to increase Chinese investments in Brazil. The São Paulo meeting was a direct result of president Dilma Rousseff’s recent visit to China and was followed by a meeting in Brasilia yesterday, Monday, May 16, where a memorandum of understanding was signed.
According to the president of the National Industrial Confederation (“CNI”), Robson de Andrade, after initial contacts with the Chinese delegation it was clear that they are interested mainly in making investments in Brazil in the areas of agribusiness and mining. Andrade declared that the Brazilians were trying to get the Chinese interested in putting money into infrastructure and technology industries.
“We want them to invest in the manufacturing segment so we can increase our exports of higher aggregate value goods to China, goods that call for more intense labor and technology,” explained Andrade, adding that the Chinese have expressed interest as well in airports, railroads, highways and other construction that will be part of the World Soccer Cup and Olympic Games (both will be held in Brazil – the first in 2014, the latter in 2016).
Mauricio Borges, the president of the Brazilian Agency for the Promotion of Exports (“Apex-Brasil”), said there are expectations that deals will be closed with the Chinese for investments in technology. “They are still studying the situation in Brazil, where they see various opportunities not only in mining, but also in technology,” he said. Meanwhile, the president of the São Paulo Manufacturers Federation (“Fiesp”), Paulo Skaf, pointed out that at the moment Brazil exports mostly mineral ore and soy to China while importing manufactured goods, which is definitely not an advantage for Brazil.
“As it stands now, it is not a good trade relation for Brazil. Another problem is the exchange rate. Our currency is strong, the Chinese currency is weak, which robs us of competitivity. We want to aggregate value and create jobs in Brazil,” Skaf declared. Liu Zuo Zhang, the director-general of the China Investment and Promotion Agency, said the objective of the visit by Chinese businessmen was to promote mutual investments. He pointed out that last year China invested at least $90 billion abroad and that the tendency is for that amount to grow.
China became Brazil’s biggest trade partner in April 2009. In 2000, total bilateral trade, China – Brazil, totaled $2.3 billion. In 2010 it reached $56.3 billion.
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English