During a symposium at the Brazil–China Business Council, held this Wednesday (May 22) in Beijing, Brazilian vice-President Hamilton Mourão argued for the diversification of Brazilian exports to China with higher added-value goods. Last year, the main products exported by Brazil to China were soybeans, fuels, and iron ore—essentially raw material.
“China will continue to grow above the global average and its demand for food, for instance, should increase 11 to 13 percent by 2030. We’re going to work to expand and diversify Brazilian exports with higher added value. We want to increase the amount exported, redirect Chinese investments to areas of interest of Brazil, and deepen cooperation in science, technology, and innovation,” said Mourão, on an official visit to the Asian country slated to end on Friday (24).
China has been Brazil’s main commercial partner since 2009. Exports ($64.2 billion) and imports ($34.7 billion) added up to $98.9 billion. Brazil has kept a surplus on this balance of trade for nine years, with a record reported in 2018 ($29.5 billion).
On Thursday (23), Mourão is chairing the 5th meeting of the China–Brazil High-Level Cooperation and Commission (Cosban). The next day he is expected to be received by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The trip to China comes ahead of President Jair Bolsonaro’s visit, which should take place later this year.
Created in 2004, Cosban is the main bilateral coordination mechanism between Brazil and China, and is headed by the vice-presidents of the two countries. The commission, however, last convened in 2015. To an audience made up of executives and diplomats, Mourão said he plans to expand the range of the topics discussed by Cosban.
“We are going to propose the scope of Cosban of to be brought up-to-date in order to reflect the new reality of the bilateral agenda. When the mechanism was created, in 2004, our bilateral trade was 11 times lower; the investment between the parties were not significant, and the Brics did not even exist. Since then, our ties have become deeper, more diverse, complex, and intense,” he declared.
In an address directed at executives, the Brazilian vice-president endorsed the economic measures unveiled by the Brazilian government, such as the overhaul in the country’s pension system as a way to address fiscal problems and unlock the Brazilian economy.
“The Brazilian GDP grew an average of two percent a year from 1980 to 2018. The productivity of the workforce increased just 0.2 percent a year. To change this scenario, the government has been implemented measures to restore the balance of public account, simplify regulating conditions and reduce taxes, in addition to privatizing public companies and overhaul the educational system.”