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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in China for high-level talks on trade

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in China for high-level talks on trade

xi jinping bolsonaro
Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro arrives in China today for a two-day visit featuring talks with Xi Jinping. Discussions are likely to focus on trade and investment—China is Brazil’s largest trade partner, with two-way trade surpassing $100 billion in 2018.

For Beijing, Bolsonaro’s visit presents an opportunity to gain an edge in its current trade war with the US. China imports roughly $15 billion worth of Brazilian soybeans each year, providing an alternative to US imports. While Beijing recently granted tariff waivers on 10 million metric tonnes of US soybeans, increasing imports from Brazil would diversify China’s reliance on US imports—a key battleground in the ongoing trade war.

For Brazil, Bolsonaro’s outreach to China is a stark reversal of rhetoric this past spring, where he accused China of abusing investments in Brazilian land and minerals. Now, Bolsonaro, who is capitalising on opportunity that the trade war is presenting, hopes to sign free trade agreements with China and other Asian states, such as Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia—all countries he has visited recently. Bolsonaro is expected to seek pledges of Chinese investments in renewable energy, transportation and auto production.

Leaders of both countries are set to meet again in Brazil next month for the Brazil China Business Council.

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