Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is touring Asia, as he eyes up several trade deals for Latin America’s largest economy. He’s also set to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time when he heads to China on Oct. 24.
CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco reports from Rio de Janeiro.
Since taking office in January, Brazil’s far-right firebrand Bolsonaro, a self-declared fan of Donald Trump, has softened his criticisms of China, Brazil’s top trading partner.
He complained about China buying up Brazil during his election campaign. Now he’s reversing course. He’s heading to Beijing hoping to expand and diversify trade with China.
“This trip is to show China that Brazil can be pragmatic and that Bolsonaro can sometimes learn from his mistakes,” Maurico Santoro, a political analyst with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, said.
In 2018, two-way trade between the two nations reached nearly $100 billion. According to government figures, Brasilia ran a trade surplus with Beijing last year, exporting more than $60 billion in goods to China, while importing around $35 billion.
China’s Consul General in Rio de Janeiro, Li Yang, said Bolsonaro’s visit to China is taking place at a critical moment and could bring the two nations closer.
“Promoting multilateral diplomacy, seek a multilateral free trade system, global environmental protection, many, many issues. We need each other,” Yang said.
On his tour of Asia and the Middle East, Bolsonaro will visit Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The goal will be to attract investment.
China has more than 150 investment projects in Brazil that can provide support to the country’s sluggish economy, which is expected now to grow less than one percent this year.