Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is set to visit China with the aim of strengthening economic ties and restoring Brazil’s role in global diplomacy. Lula is hoping to invite Chinese President Xi Jinping to Brazil for a bilateral meeting to showcase projects in which China could invest. Lula’s trip to China is seen as part of his attempt to reset relationships with Brazil’s allies, which were strained during the presidency of his far-right predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro. The trip comes two months after Lula’s meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington DC.
Lula will lead a large delegation, including dozens of political representatives and about 240 Brazilian business leaders. The Brazilian president is expected to arrive in China on Wednesday and attend a swearing-in ceremony for former President Dilma Rousseff, who will lead the New Development Bank of the BRICS economic bloc. Lula will also meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday. The Brazilian leader’s visit follows years of strained relations between Brazil and China under Bolsonaro, who campaigned on anti-China rhetoric.
China has a long-term interest in a close diplomatic relationship with Brazil, which is important for its strategy in Latin America and global leadership. Similarly, Brazil has important long-term strategic interests in maintaining a working partnership with China. Brazil-China bilateral trade totalled $150bn in 2022, an increase of 10.1 percent compared with the previous year. Brazil mainly exports iron ore, soybeans, and crude petroleum to China, while semiconductor devices account for the largest share of Chinese exports to the Brazilian market.
During Lula’s visit, negotiations are expected to cover state cooperation, including strengthening technological knowledge sharing and the construction of a satellite to support Amazon conservation. The trip will also help reduce the dominance of the dollar by setting up yuan clearing house arrangements that would facilitate bilateral trade and investment. The visit is a significant opportunity for both sides to upgrade their mutually beneficial, friendly cooperation in various sectors and bring more positive energy to developing countries’ solidarity, cooperation and joint response to global challenges.
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