Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will make a highly anticipated visit to China from Wednesday through Saturday, a trip that is being hailed as an opportunity to revive and strengthen the long-standing relationship between the two countries.
After weathering a tumultuous period during Jair Bolsonaro's term as president, the time has come to rebuild trust, enhance cooperation and explore new avenues of collaboration to ensure mutual growth, prosperity and sustainable development.
During President Lula's second term, which ended in 2010, China became Brazil's main trade partner, a position that has persisted over the years. Despite the adverse effects of the Bolsonaro administration's policies, trade between the two countries remained resilient (in 2022 trade between Brazil and China peaked at $171.49 billion). Now, with Lula back in office and bringing the most important Brazilian presidential delegation in history, the stage is set for a new era of enhanced cooperation and strategic partnership between Brazil and China.
In order to build a strong political alliance with China, Lula must ensure that Brazil engages with China on multiple levels, including trade and investment and cooperation on pressing global issues such as poverty alleviation, climate change and joining hands to promote an end to the conflict in Ukraine. By working together on these multilateral challenges, Brazil and China can demonstrate their commitment to global peace, stability and sustainable development.
Furthermore, the visit provides an opportunity for the two nations to renew their commitment to promoting greater regional integration in areas such as infrastructure development and connectivity. By working together within the framework of organizations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and regional mechanisms, the two countries can contribute to a more inclusive and prosperous global order.
One of the major challenges that Brazil faces is the need to develop a comprehensive strategy toward China that encompasses not only trade but also science, technology and innovation. Currently, Brazil's trade with China is concentrated on just a few commodities, such as soybeans, iron ore and crude oil, which underscores the need for the diversification of their trade and a more balanced economic relationship.
To achieve this, Brazil must focus on increasing the number of players in the Chinese market, even within the commodities sector. By expanding the range of Brazilian businesses operating in China, Brazil can generate more jobs, foster economic growth and promote a more sustainable trade partnership. This diversification will also help Brazil tap into China's vast potential in science, technology and innovation, paving the way for joint projects and technology transfers.
In addition, Brazil should actively seek Chinese expertise and investment in key sectors such as agribusiness, infrastructure and logistics. By leveraging China's experience in these areas, Brazil can enhance its domestic capabilities, improve its competitiveness and create new opportunities for economic growth and job creation.
On the other hand, China must make sure that Brazil welcomes its traders and investors, not just through rhetoric but also through concrete actions. By fostering a welcoming environment for Chinese businesses and fostering bilateral investments, both countries can work together to ensure mutual growth, prosperity and sustainable development.
Considering the relevance of the Belt and Road Initiative to China's international trade and diplomacy, China should also urge Brazil to be directly engaged in this international cooperation platform. Among the more than 150 countries that are signatories to the initiative, 22 are from Latin America and the Caribbean. However, Brazil is not yet one of them.
The future is undoubtedly bright for Brazil and China if they seize the opportunity presented by President Lula's visit. By building a comprehensive partnership that encompasses trade, investment, science, technology and multilateral cooperation, the two countries can forge a new era of collaboration that benefits both nations and addresses pressing global challenges.
Both countries should work together to promote sustainable development in other regions, especially in Latin America and Africa. By providing development assistance, technology transfer and capacity building, Brazil and China can contribute to global efforts to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and protect the environment.
The two nations should also actively participate in and support the reform of global governance institutions to ensure that they are more representative, inclusive and effective in addressing the challenges of the 21st century. By working together within the framework of these institutions, both countries can play a constructive role in shaping the rules and norms that govern international relations, trade and development.
Lula's visit to China marks a pivotal moment in the history of Brazil-China relations. By seizing this opportunity to rekindle the spirit of partnership and cooperation, both nations can embark on a journey toward a brighter future featuring mutual growth, prosperity and sustainable development. The world stands to gain from their renewed cooperation, and both sides should act decisively and embrace the potential of this historic moment. （China Daily 2023-4-12）