This week, Lula, the president of Brazil, will travel to China to see Xi Jinping. While the major Asian country seeks greater access to Brazilian agricultural, Brazil aims to find a compromise between business and environmental conservation.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, president of Brazil, was to be hosted by Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing in March in an effort to strengthen ties with yet another diplomatic ally in the wake of Xi’s three-day trip to Russia.
When the president of Brazil was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia, the visit was postponed. He will now be here from April 11 to April 14.
The state visit takes place as China works to position itself as a significant global force that can compete with the US.
Lula was scheduled to travel to Beijing with a delegation of 240 business executives, placing a focus on China’s trade connections with Brazil. Brazil’s exports to China hit $89 billion in 2022, while the two countries’ present yearly trade is $150 billion (140 billion euros).
Brazilian investments from China increasingly span a wide range of industries, experts say, as Beijing looks to capitalise on Brazil’s large market and wealth of resources.
Brazilian soy is a significant part of China’s overall thinking on food security, according to Margaret Myers, director of the Inter-American Dialogue’s Asia and Latin America Program. “Brazil has a lot of resources that are of interest to China,” she added.
Given the scale of the Brazilian market, Myers continued, Chinese businesses made Brazil one of their initial stops in Latin America as an obvious choice.
According to her, “the Lula administration’s 2010 embrace of China, Chinese participation, and Chinese investment to Brazil helped grow the bilateral dynamic.”
According to other analysts, Lula’s visit is intended to increase Chinese investment in Brazil, notably in the industrial sector.
According to Evandro Menezes de Carvalho, a professor of international law at Brazil’s FGV University, China is a potential investor that Brazil is hoping to entice with the promise of fostering growth in industries like green energy and vehicles.
Lula’s trip to China will heavily emphasise the agricultural sector.
Among these, the meat business is especially anxious to expand its market presence in China. According to the Reuters news agency, JBS SA, the largest meat company in the world, was planning to send 10 representatives as part of the Brazilian team on the trip in March.
China sees Brazil as a key pillar in its involvement with South America, according to Leland Lazarus, associate director for national security at Florida International University in the US. Lula, though, is likely to attempt to find a compromise between putting China’s commercial and investment interests first and adopting a harsh position on environmental issues with China.
He told DW that Lula “won’t be so happy to just play second fiddle.” He’ll probably keep looking for methods to increase exports of soybeans, iron ore, crude oil, and frozen beef to China’s sizable market. Simultaneously, he [is likely to] demand that China take additional steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions and [hold] Chinese state-owned companies doing business in Brazil accountable for endangering Brazil’s priceless environment.
Brazilian businessmen and industry executives are uneasy about Chinese corporations’ domination in several Brazilian industries, despite Brazil’s desire to preserve its close economic ties with China.
Evan Ellis, a specialist in Latin American Studies at the US Army War College Strategic Studies Center, noted that Chinese companies had made an estimated $70 billion in investments in Brazil over the past two decades in a recent article written by the US-based think tank Global Americans.