By Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Cash-strapped Brazilian state governments are touring China in search of investors in order to boost their economies, particularly through financing for infrastructure works.
Industrial and mining projects have also been presented to the Asians in an effort to leverage investments in the states.
The campaign is being carried out independently from the relations between Beijing and the federal government, which have become more unreliable since President Jair Bolsonaro arrived at the Palácio do Planalto.
To alleviate the initial estrangement, following his comment that “China is not buying in Brazil, it is buying Brazil,” Bolsonaro is preparing an official visit to the country in August. Many governors decided not to wait that long and put China at the top of their priority list.
Charles Tang, president of the Brazil-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIBC), has been one of the main facilitators of the approach with governors.
He began his career at an investment bank on Wall Street and has been a bridge between the two countries since the late 1970s.
“Logically, the states cannot be divorced from the country, but many state governments are pursuing their own agenda with China,” he says.
One example is the São Paulo commercial office in Shanghai, which Governor João Doria (PSDB) intends to inaugurate in August and should be headed by retired diplomat Marcos Caramuru, former ambassador of Brazil to China.
Tang comments that power generation from waste biomass, public lighting, surveillance systems, and facial recognition are on the governors’ radar – and also of several mayors.
Tang mentions, however, a widespread concern for Chinese investors: the existence of financial guarantees for the projects.