China and Brazil are expected to form closer and stronger economic ties during the upcoming visit by Premier Li Keqiang, according to China’s top diplomat in the South American country.
Brazil is the first leg of Li’s nine-day South American tour, which will also take him to Colombia, Peru and Chile.
Chinese Ambassador to Brazil Li Jinzhang said this demonstrates the great emphasis the leaders of the two countries place on their ties.
The envoy said that during the Premier’s visit, the two countries are expected to sign a long list of agreements covering a wide range of areas. Expanding cooperation on production capacity and investment is high on the agenda, he said.
Li Jinzhang said China’s attempts to shift its development model and make best use of its economic structure, and Brazil’s economic restructuring, have created new challenges and opportunities for bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
“It will provide strong momentum for developing new growth points and bright spots in bilateral cooperation,” he told China Daily’s Latin American edition on May 15.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said recently she hopes that Chinese investment will help to upgrade her country’s railways, highways, ports and airports.
Rousseff and Premier Li are scheduled to review a joint feasibility study in the coming days for a proposed railway linking Brazil’s Atlantic coast to Peru’s Pacific coast.
The more than 4,000-km-long project was announced in July during President Xi Jinping’s trip to South America. The three countries signed an agreement in Beijing late last year to explore the project, known as the Twin Ocean Railroad Connection. More discussions have been held since.
In Rio de Janeiro, the other Brazilian city Premier Li will visit apart from the capital Brasilia, the subway and urban railway fleets are being revamped with the purchase of Chinese products.
Ambassador Li believes that trade is another area that has huge potential for bilateral cooperation.
“The two countries should improve trade flow and diversify their trade, and in particular increase the percentage of high value added goods in bilateral trade and reduce the overdependence on commodity trade, such as soybeans and iron ore,” he said.
Bilateral trade reached $86.7 billion last year, making China the largest trade partner for Brazil for the sixth consecutive year and Brazil the 10th largest trading partner for China.
“Financial institutions in the two nations should actively explore ways to finance major projects to ensure practical cooperation in various fields,” he said.
China and Brazil are members of the New Development Bank, formerly known as the BRICS Development Bank, which was formed to foster greater cooperation among the five major emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Brazil is also the only Latin American country that has become a prospective founding member of the China-proposed Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The largest South American nation has also become a major destination for Chinese investment, which reached $18.9 billion in the country last year. Investment in energy, mining, power transmission, manufacturing, banking, agriculture and wholesale and retail has become more diversified.
Brazilian investment in China, although relatively small, has shown a good growth trend, the envoy told Brazilian news media. “With the expanding cooperation and growing common interests between the two nations, China and Brazil have increasingly become a community of common destiny,” he said.