In September 2019, the Brazil-China Business Council (CEBC) celebrated 15 years of partnerships between the two countries with an event in Sao Paulo. The relationship has become crucial to both countries, for very different reasons
Under its current president, Ambassador Luiz Augusto de Castro Neves, the CEBC brings together Brazil’s leading business figures to channel strategic proposals and attract public and private-sector investment from China, as well as explore the Asian powerhouse’s markets for Brazil’s producers.
For its part, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has seen the country look to extend its investment horizons, with 60 new trade routes reaching deep into South America and beyond, designed to stimulate economic growth and create links to the world’s highest capacity producers to meet its population’s ever-growing demand.
Brazil is currently the world’s fourth biggest recipient of Chinese investment in the energy and mining sector, while its overall investment hit $60bn in the ten years up to 2018. Meanwhile, Brazil is looking for both the finance and technology to help kick-start a new era in logistical progress to bring a sharper competitive edge to its exports.
As Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao said at September’s event: “China wants to invest in infrastructure in Brazil to make our exports easier and cheaper, but their companies will have to come into the country and agree to our legislation.”
Yang Wanming, China’s ambassador to Brazil, has suggested that new areas for investment including health, education and telecoms, will build on the established industries of agriculture and mining. Logistics will also play an ever-greater part, targeting ports, railways and airports, as well as renewable energy.
The presence of Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan at a meeting in May signalled the next stage for the 5G telecoms strategy and paved the way for President Bolonaro’s first visit to China. With greenfield projects accounting for 50% of China’s proposed financial input in 2018, the trend away from traditional business acquisitions and fusions is gathering pace. As barriers and tariffs continue to fall, CEBC is opening up Brazil more than ever to Chinese investment.