What Did Brazil’s President Achieve on His Foreign Trips?
Over the past weeks, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro made foreign trips to China and to the Middle East, where he visited the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. In China, Bolsonaro secured a government promise for more agricultural and industrial imports to China from Brazil. In the Middle East, Bolsonaro met with heads of state and business groups in Doha and Riyadh. What did Bolsonaro, who at home has criticized Chinese involvement in his country and espoused a “Brazil First” policy, accomplish on the trips? How will China and the Gulf states benefit from their relationship with Brazil? To what extent will Bolsonaro’s engagement with China affect Brazil’s warming relations with the United States?
Welber Barral, senior consultant at BMJ Consultores Associados and former Brazilian foreign trade secretary: “The Brazilian government is promoting an ambitious program of privatization and concessions, and the Chinese are potential investors. Bolsonaro’s criticisms regarding China during the electoral campaign were appeased by the pragmatic conclusion that Chinese investments are necessary to modernize Brazil’s infrastructure. China also has a strategic interest in investing in Latin America’s largest economy, while securing access to minerals and grains. China is Brazil’s main trading partner. Brazil provides iron ore and soybeans for the growing Chinese market, while Brazil imports industrial goods from China. The Arab countries are also important clients of Brazilian foodstuffs (curiously, Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of Halal food). Also, large investments (especially from the UAE) have been floating to Brazil in recent years in real estate, infrastructure and mining. Brazil has historically adopted a neutral position over the clashes among world powers. Its economic interests…”Read More
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