Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff’s official visit to China to happen between the 12th and 15th of this month will be heavily focused on business and trade. No less than two trade/business missions will accompany her.
One, organized by the National Industrial Confederation (CNI) with 200 members, and the other by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham). In both cases, the goal will be to create trade and commercial opportunities.
Bilateral Brazil-China trade has been growing at over 45% per year, going from US$ 9 billion in 2004 to US$ 56 billion last year. And that has transformed China into Brazil’s biggest trade partner and made the Asian giant a leader in direct foreign investment in Brazil.
Just one Chinese firm, the Wuhan Iron Steel (Wisco), is investing US$ 3.5 billion in a steel mill, bought mining rights in Morro de Santana, Minas Gerais for US$ 5 billion and laid out another US$ 400 million for 21.5% of a mine in Serra Azul, also in Minas Gerais. Most of these Wisco deals were with the Brazilian billionaire, Eike Batista.
Another Chinese state-run firm in the petroleum segment, Sinopec, bought 40% of Repsol Brasil for US$ 7.1 billion. Finally, Huawei, a telecommunications and technologies firm that has been in Brazil since 1999, has become a leader in the Brazilian broadband market in partnership ventures with cell and land line telephone operators.
According to the Brazil-Chinese Business Council, Chinese investments in Brazil in 2010 topped US$ 18 billion. Most of the money went to enterprises in the states of Rio de Janeiro (over US$ 9 billion) and Minas Gerais (US$ 7.3 billion).
The vice president of Huawei, Li Xiaotao, says bilateral relations are at a historical high point. “Brazil and China are in tune. Both countries are focused on new industries and alternative energy sources. We face similar challenges as we work for growth,” he declared.