China, Brazil have banner year

Updated: 2014-12-22 04:35

By Yang Yao in Beijing(China Daily Latin America)

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In review of the relationship between China and Brazil over the past year, Chinese Latin-America watchers used the word "fruitful".

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Brazil in July, the two leading emerging economies consolidated their booming partnership and signed more than 50 cooperation agreements in economic, cultural and political sectors.

In addition to finance, industry and aviation accords, the two nations sealed a long-awaited memorandum of understanding on railway construction to help improve Brazil's infrastructure and energy sector.

"Under the framework of BRICS countries'cooperation, the two countries took high-level cooperation in many sectors,"said Zhou Zhiwei, a researcher in Brazilian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "This cooperation plays an important role in global economy recovery, as well as the economic cooperation in the pan- Asia-Pacific region."

The Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (CNI) alerted on Dec 17, that restoring confidence in the economic policy and increasing competitiveness is important for the country to speed up its growth pace.

According to a forecast in a report published by CNI, Brazil’s economy will grow by 1 percent in 2015, above the 0.3 percent projected for this year. The industry, which is estimated to close 2014 with a 1.5 percent retraction, will have a 1 percent expansion.

This relationship is not only a key part of Beijing's diplomacy to promoting South-South cooperation, but also has an impact on Brazil's economy, he said.

Trade cooperation has been the foundation of the two countries'relationship. Trade between China and Brazil soared to $83.3 billion last year from $3.2 billion in 2002, with iron ore, soy and oil the bulk of Brazilian exports, making China the South American nation's biggest trade partner.

According to the National Association of Rail Transporters in Brazil, the country's railroad system transported a total of 490,000 tons of materials in 2013. Coal and iron ore accounted for more than 75 percent of total goods. In less than two decades, China has emerged as the biggest trade partner with Brazil, Chile and Peru, and is set to overtake the European Union as the region's second-largest trade partner in 2016, according to United Nation's figures.

Finance and investment become the highlight of the cooperation. Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China CITIC Bank, etc., have started their branches in Brazil, creating a financial convenience in Latin America. Bank of Brazil opened its branch in Shanghai, marking the first Latin American bank operating in China. With the two countries' currency swap agreement signed, the trade between the two has realized RMB settlement, efficiently reducing the currency risks and remittance fee, which creates a new model of financial cooperation between BRICS countries, said the scholar.

A report, Latin American Economic Outlook 2015, by OECD Development Centre, the Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC) and the development bank for Latin America (CAF), said that Brazil’s GDP has slowed down.

Zhang Yong, associated professor with Institution of Latin America Studies, under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that both countries have started reform to change their economic structures.

Technology and innovation have become the focus of future cooperation between two countries.

According to media reports in November, Brazil, with technology support from China, launched its data center. The big data will help many sectors like finance, education, gas, manufacturing, etc.

In the middle of this month, an Earth-watching satellite developed by China and Brazil lifted off on a Long March 4B rocket, which was the first successful case in space cooperation between developing countries.

Zhou, the researcher, said that besides cooperation on national level, exchanges among the societies are also of vital importance. However, there aren’t many Brazilians who know well about China, and vice versa.

"There will be a huge demand in the near future of talents who can connect the two cultures and societies, and we needmore of those kinds of people to strengthen our ties," he said.