By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s President Michel Temer urged Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday to end China’s surtaxes on sugar and chicken exports from Brazil. The Brazilian leader is in Johannesburg, South Africa, to attend the 10th BRICS Summit.
“We asked him [Xi Jinping] to reduce the surcharges on chicken and sugar, so we could increase our exports,” Temer told journalists after the meeting.
“You know that we export a lot of soybeans to China, but only the grain itself,” explained Temer. “What we want is, and I emphasized this for President Xi Jinping, to send the processed products, that is, soybean oil and soybean meal, which naturally allows for industrialization in our country.”
In addition to agricultural trade, Temer was also said to have discussed with his Chinese counterpart issues related to concessions and privatizations in Brazil, and Chinese investments in infrastructure works in the areas of railways, ports, airports, transmission lines and power distributors.
Temer and Xi Jinping, along with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and South Africa’s leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, are attending the bloc’s annual three-day meeting.
Topics expected to be addressed during the Summit include industrialization and new technologies, and growth and cooperation on peacekeeping and health issues in the member states. Also among to be discussed is the role of the African continent in the alliance. The Summit this year will include the presence of several leaders from the continent.
One issue not on the agenda, but which was addressed by several at the meeting was the on-going trade tensions created by the U.S. with its partners.
“We should be resolute in rejecting unilateralism,” said Xi Jinping during his speech at the opening ceremony. “A global trade war should be rejected because there will be no winner.”
The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) represent around 23 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).