Bolsonaro to fly to Japan to boost trade, investment

The president is also visiting China to reinforce his int'l agenda

Published in 16/10/2019 - 15:13 By José Romildo - Brasília

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro next week is starting an official trip to Japan and China, aimed at bolstering trade with these two Asian nations and signal to the world the country’s commitment to economic openness, new business deals, and overhauls, said Ambassador Reinaldo José de Almeida Salgado, the Foreign Ministry’s secretary for bilateral affairs in Asia, the Pacific, and Russia.

Together, Japan and China invest a total of $100 billion in Brazil. Asia ranks first in Brazilian exports and imports. In the nine first months of 2019, 40 percent of Brazil’s exports were shipped to the region, whereas 33 percent of imports from the Latin American country came from Asia.

Bolsonaro’s visit will start in Japan, where he is to take part in the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito on October 22, followed by a banquet offered to the presidents by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on October 23. On the same day, a meeting will be held between Bolsonaro and the members of a group of notables with the leaders of the main Japanese companies—among which Mitsui, Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi. “The main course will be investment [for the future],” said Salgado.

Trade deal

According to Salgado, both Brazil and Japan are interested in rewarming bilateral relations. The two countries, along with other Mercosur member countries, plan to start talks soon on the signing of a commercial agreement between Mercosur and Japan.

The trade between the two, Salgado reported, reached $7 billion from January to September this year—a 15 percent growth. “It’s not bad. The really bad thing is that it’s been on the wane [in the last few years],” the diplomat said. In 2011, the figures of bilateral trade were twice as high as today’s, he noted.

In Salgado’s view, Japan, a country that formerly not favorable to commercial deals, is now more willing to seek negotiations with Brazil. Calculations by Japanese consultancies, he said, warn that, from Japan’s viewpoint, the European Union–Mercosur deal undermines Japan’s exporting market. Studies found that 97 percent of exports from the European Union to Brazil represent products already sold by Japan to the Brazilian market.

China

From Japan, the Brazilian leader is to proceed to China, where he will meet Chinese officials on October 24 and 25. The visit to China comes as part of a long agenda of mutual visits with authorities from both countries, the ambassador pointed out.

In addition to Brazilian ministers that went to China, and Chinese authorities that came to Brazil, the ambassador mentioned the visit of Brazilian vice-President Hamilton Mourão to the Asian country in May. He noted that Mourão chaired a China–Brazil high-level commission and coordinated the activities of 12 sub-commissions.

“President Bolsonaro’s visit celebrates the 45 years of diplomatic relations between Brazil and China,” Ambassador Reinaldo Salgado said. A meeting with Brazilian and Chinese executives will be promoted by the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil). The diplomat said that the expansion of Brazilian exports to China and the rest of the Asian continent is made possible by such encounters, which help tackled challenges in exports and attract investment.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Bruna Saniele / Augusto Queiroz

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