By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – If suspended president Dilma Rousseff is impeached from office in August, Brazil’s interim President, Michel Temer, plans to take his first official overseas trip as leader of the country in September to China, Industry and Foreign Trade Minister Marcos Pereira announced over the weekend. Temer’s main goal is to boost Brazilian exports to the Asian country, especially of aircrafts and beef.
According to the minister, who attended the G20 Trade Ministers Meeting in Shanghai, China, over the weekend, President Temer is expected to sign several trade agreements with China during his visit. The Asian country is already Brazil’s most important trading partner.
Last year, during Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit to Brazil, the two countries signed investment agreements worth US$53.3 billion to be made by Chinese companies in Brazil in the areas of agribusiness, auto parts, equipment transport, energy, railways, highways, airports, ports, storage and services. Now Temer wants to increase the presence of Brazilian products in China.
According to government news sources, Minister Pereira discussed with his Chinese counterpart, Minister Gao Hucheng, speeding up the signing of the purchasing contract of ten aircrafts manufactured by Brazilian aircraft giant, Embraer, and the authorization to import the remaining 18 units of the forty-aircraft contract signed in 2014, scheduled to be delivered between 2018 and 2021.
Also on the menu for Temer’s visit is a possible discussion on the increase of Brazilian beef exports to China. Beef exports were temporarily suspended in 2012, when China banned Brazilian beef due to fears of mad cow disease. The ban was suspended in 2014, and Brazil quickly became once again one of China’s largest suppliers.
Minister Pereira also asked that China ease its entry requirements of Brazilian containers, today under heavy scrutiny due to Zika virus. According to the minister, the sanctions penalize Brazilian businessmen.
Foreign Relations Minister, José Serra, says Brazil’s relationship with China will be a top priority for the Temer Administration, with the South American country trying to jump-start its manufactured and agribusiness exports to China.
According to analysts, the Temer administration has given clear signs that it will be looking to strengthen its commerce ties with strategic partners such as Argentina and China, and somewhat distance itself from some of the Rousseff’s administration allies, such as the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.