(AFP) – Mar 30, 2011
BRASILIA — China is rapidly expanding its presence in Brazil, surpassing the United States as the South American giant's biggest biggest investor and trade partner, a report released Wednesday said.
Published ahead of a planned visit by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to China next month, the report said Chinese firms have announced investments of nearly $30 billion in Brazil, including $8.6 billion currently under negotiation.
The energy and mining sectors represented 90 percent of those investments, the report by the Brazil-China Business Council said.
But Chinese investors have also made direct or indirect purchases of Brazilian farm lands, especially for soy production.
China is seeking "a base for supplies of natural resources," the study said.
Brazilian exports to China have also climbed rapidly, jumping from $1 billion in 2000 to $30.7 billion last year.
These exports -- mostly in soybeans, iron ore, oil and other commodities -- helped Brazil secure an estimated $5 billion annual trade surplus with China.
Most Brazilian imports from China are manufactured products, which soared from $1.2 billion in 2000 to $25.5 billion in 2010.
The growth has been so explosive that China replaced the United States in 2009 as Brazil's biggest trade partner. From 2009 to 2010, bilateral trade increased by 52 percent.
But "until 2009, Brazil had more investments in China than China in Brazil," noted Norton Rapesta, who heads trade promotion at the Brazilian Foreign Ministry.
"Latin America is the last frontier attracting great interest from China, and Brazil is the engine of that dynamic," said Edileuza Reis, Brazil's undersecretary-general for Asian affairs at the Foreign Ministry.
Brazil hopes this economic expansion will also yield tangible benefits for the Latin American nation.
When Rousseff visits China April 10-15, she will seek a greater presence for Brazilian firms in China, secure more Chinese investment in developing Brazilian industries and reduce Chinese purchases of raw materials, as well as the diversification of Chinese exports.
"We want to include more high value-added products in trade with China, but we also need to diversify our investment in China," said Reis.
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