By Samuel Elliott Novacich, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – President Dilma Rousseff spent last week in China promoting economic and strategic relations with Brazil. As her first state visit to China, Rousseff took the opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of investing in the South American giant. President Rousseff kicked off her trip on Tuesday, meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
The Brazilian president’s trip came to a peak on Friday at the Boao Forum for Asia where she stressed mutual advantages to increased trade and the importance of south-south cooperation.
Throughout the trip, Rousseff repeatedly emphasized her desire for greater collaboration between what she called “the two most dynamic economies in Asia and Latin America,” stating that she would like to “make a qualitative leap forward in our relations…we want more dynamic, sophisticated and equitable ties.”
Over twenty trade accords were signed after the first meeting between Rousseff and Hu, including those covering the export of raw material to China, and expanded Chinese investment in technology and infrastructure in Brazil.
Upon Rousseff’s arrival in the region, China announced that it planned to open its market to Brazilian pork, as well as greater imports of chicken and beef. Both countries also agreed to loosen procedures allowing for expedited entry of produce.
To further encourage bilateral collaboration, representatives from 300 Brazilian and Chinese companies were invited to a business seminar in Beijing where they were free to forge new agreements with potential partners.
Rousseff highlighted Brazil’s need for greater investment in infrastructure of distribution networks and airports, as well as within the energy sector, specifically pointing to Chinese expertise in the construction of refineries and gas pipelines.
Another welcomed opportunity for cooperation comes as Brazil prepares for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. The Brazilian President acknowledged obvious Chinese experience in hosting international events, and encouraged the input and support of Chinese firms with infrastructural logistics and technology.
Roussett’s visit has largely been hailed as a success. Her leadership style has been called “pragmatic” by Chen Duqing, the former Chinese Ambassador to Brazil. This pragmatism led to meetings Ren Zhengfei, president of the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.
During those meetings, Zhengfei reportedly indicated that the company intends to invest further in Brazil. This move could potentially create 10,000 jobs and lead to investment in the Innovation, Production and Training Center in São Paulo.
Rousseff also attended the Third Summit of the BRICS Group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) in Sanya, Hainan Province. The meeting focused primarily on South Africa’s entrance into the group, and strategy for further strengthening relations among the developing nations.
Almost two years ago, China passed the United States as Brazil’s greatest trade partner and investor. Bilateral trade between the two countries was estimated at over US$5.6 billion in 2010.
In that time, Brazil exported mostly soy, iron ore, and petroleum to China. Brazil has historically imported manufactured goods like electronics and low cost textiles, but also receives enormous Chinese investment in telecommunications.