China has signed a contract for the construction of a gas pipeline (known as Gasene – Northeastern gas pipeline) that will run from Macaé, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, to Salvador, state of Bahia.
By Bruno Bocchini
The cost is estimated at USA$ 1.3 billion, with China paying US$ 1.17 billion, and the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, US$130 million.
The pipeline will extend for over one thousand kilometers. The actual construction will be carried out by Brazilian and Chinese state-run oil companies, Petrobras and Sinopec. Financing will be by the Chinese Eximbank and the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES).
According to Minister of Planning, Guido Mantega, total Chinese investments in Brazil could reach as much as US$ 5 billion.
“China is an attractive partner for us. The relationship lies outside the status quo of international relations and offers great commercial possibilities,” said the Minister.
Brazil presented the Chinese with a list of 24 investment projects, among them port modernization in Santos and Itaqui (Maranhão), and the North-South railroad line (Transnordestina).
The Chinese are reported to be interested in the transportation systems for soybeans and iron ore, which they import in large quantities.
“They are looking at public-private partnership projects in infrastructure,” says Mantega.
Such projects are known as “PPP” in Brazil and legislation regulating them is presently in Congress (where it has been approved by the Chamber of Deputies (House of Representatives) and awaits a vote in the Senate).
Just last month Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sent a message to the Chinese government commemorating the 30 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In the message, President Lula underlined the lofty plateau attained by the strategic partnership uniting Brazil and China and his historic visit to that country in May of this year.
According to the note, during these thirty years, Brazil and China, on the basis of mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-intervention in each other’s internal affairs, have managed to achieve a significantly more intense relationship.
This was shown in their exemplary political dialogue and their fluid bilateral cooperation, providing opportunities for increasingly ample bilateral understandings and shared positions on the international stage.
Translator: Allen Bennett