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UPDATED: April 26, 2011 NO. 17 APRIL 28, 2011
Cementing a Partnership
Brazilian president's recent visit further promotes Sino-Brazilian ties

PAYING ATTENTION: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at a press conference during the BRICS Summit on April 14 in Sanya, Hainan (IC)

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff paid a state visit to China from April 12 to 13 before attending the BRICS Summit in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province. During her visit, China and Brazil signed 22 cooperative documents, further solidifying their strategic partnership.

This was Rousseff's first state visit to China since she took office in January. Chinese President Hu Jintao held talks with President Rousseff, and a joint communiqué issued on April 12 highlighted their "broad consensus" on areas ranging from trade to global governance.

The presidents witnessed the signing ceremony of eight cooperative documents covering areas such as technology, defense and sports. The two sides signed another 13 business agreements, including a Chinese purchase order for 35 Brazilian regional jets.

The Brazilian president's visit exceeded expectations, said Sun Yanfeng, an expert of Latin American studies with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. He said the Sino-Brazilian cooperation is of "great strategic significance."

While China posted an annual GDP growth rate of 10.3 percent in 2010, Brazil's economy soared 7.5 percent year on year. "Rapid growth has paved the way for across-the-board cooperation between China and Brazil as well as their collaboration in the BRICS group and the Group of 20," said Wu Baiyi, Deputy Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Closer trade and economic cooperation was high on the agenda during the China visit by Rousseff, who was accompanied by a 300-strong business delegation. Infrastructure will be a promising area of cooperation. Brazil welcomed Chinese companies to bid for its high-speed railway projects. The two sides also discussed establishing a partnership in infrastructure construction for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, both to be hosted by Brazil.

The joint communiqué also reflected their wishes. The communiqué said the Chinese side would encourage companies to increase imports of high-value-added products from Brazil. Brazil reaffirmed it would honor its commitment to recognizing China's market economy status. The two countries vowed to expand mutual investment through the cooperation of companies, in hi-tech, automobile, energy, mining and logistics sectors.

Sun pointed out the communiqué highlighted the two countries' efforts to make a breakthrough in bilateral relations through technological cooperation.

"Brazil's technologically competitive regional jets will find a flourishing market in China given China's recent regional aviation boom," Wu said. "China and Brazil also have jointly developed and launched Earth resources satellites."

He believes all these initiatives indicate the two countries are trying to change their trade imbalances and upgrade their trade structure.

Chinese statistics show bilateral trade volume reached $62.55 billion in 2010, up 47.5 percent over the previous year. In 2009, China surpassed the United States as Brazil's largest trading partner. It also became Brazil's largest export market and second largest source of imports.

China mainly imports raw materials such as iron ore and soybeans from Brazil and exports electronic products such as computers, telecommunications equipment and TV sets to Brazil. In 2010, China's exports to and imports from Brazil stood at $24.46 billion and $38.09 billion respectively.

The China-Brazil relationship provides a good example of cooperation between emerging economies and developing countries and has global implications, Wu said.

Apart from burgeoning business ties, the two countries have worked closely together on pressing issues like the global economy, reform of international financial institutions and climate change since the outbreak of the global financial crisis.

The strategic significance of Sino-Brazilian ties will help the two countries bridge differences and unleash the full potential of bilateral relations, Sun said.

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