Former foe now wants to build bridges . . .
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last week. His agenda included discussions around trade diversification, tourism, 5G, and inviting China to participate in a large auction of oil and gas concessions in early November. He did not mention whether Brazil is planning to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The right-wing populist frequently attacked China during his election campaign, but in his Friday statement Bolsonaro claimed that the two countries were “born to walk together.” Bolsonaro also met with Premier Li Keqiang and People’s Congress Chairman Li Zhanshu, the two highest ranked members of the Communist Party.
Brazil's balancing act . . .
In the midst of a domestic recession, Brazil wants to sell more to China. The ongoing U.S.-China trade war creates new markets in China for Brazilian soybeans and crude oil. And while China is struggling with a pork shortage due to the African swine fever epidemic, Brazilian meat can fill the gap. The Brazilian Agriculture Minister announced that China has added 25 new Brazilian beef, pork, and poultry plants to its list of approved exporters. The two leaders also briefly discussed the topic of Huawei, as Brazil’s 5G auction is expected to happen soon. It will be a delicate balancing act for Bolsonaro’s administration to manage relations with China and the U.S., its first- and second-largest trading partners, respectively.
More meetings in November . . .
As China and Brazil sign more co-operation agreements, it is important for Canadian companies to take notice. Canada and Brazil shares similar export patterns and will compete in selling their agriculture and energy products to China. President Xi and President Bolsonaro are expected to meet twice next month, once at the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum (APEC) in Chile and again at the annual BRICS Summit in Brazil. There will be more to watch as the two meetings in November unfold.