Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro said he will meet with the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Brasilia next week because he hopes his government can do business with all the world countries, without ideological distinction.
“I’m going to meet with the Chinese ambassador next week and I want to continue doing business with the whole world, without any ideological distinction,” Bolsonaro told a press conference Thursday night in Brazil.
So far, the winner of the presidential election has explained that the meetings held in Rio de Janeiro with the ambassadors of the United States and Spain were limited to “ceremonial conversations.”
During the campaign, Bolsonaro criticized China several times, considering it a predator who wants to dominate strategic sectors of the Brazilian economy. At the beginning of the year, as a federal deputy, he visited Taiwan, opening the way to doubts about maintaining existing diplomatic relations.
China is currently Brazil’s largest trading partner since 2009, as well as export destination and source of imports.
Bolsonaro spoke on the meeting with the Chinese ambassador a few hours after a Chinese official newspaper recalled that the new President “has no reason” to disrupt relations with China, recalling the weight of the Asian country for the Brazilian economy.
In an editorial, the China Daily newspaper admits that authorities in Beijing and Chinese companies operating in Brazil are questioning to what extent the new leader of Brazil will affect relations between the two countries.
“It’s a pertinent issue,” the paper said, pointing out that during the campaign Bolsonaro “did not seem at all friendly” to China.
Bolsonaro accused the country of taking a predatory stance on investments made in Brazil and became the first Brazilian presidential candidate to visit Taiwan in February since Brazil recognized Beijing as the only Chinese government in 1979.
The official English-language newspaper China Daily reminds that “turning your back on China may serve some political purpose,” but that “the costs to the Brazilian economy can be very hard.”
“We are sincerely hopeful that after taking the lead in the eighth largest economy in the world, Bolsonaro will look in an objective and rational way for the state of China-Brazil relations,” writes the newspaper, which refers to Bolsonaro as “Trump Tropical “.
“He will be aware that China is the largest market for Brazilian exports and the largest source of surplus in Brazilian foreign trade,” adds China Daily, noting that the two economies are “truly complementary” and “difficult to compete with.”
In 2017, trade between Brazil and China reached $87.53 billion dollars, a year-on-year increase of 29.55 percent. China sold goods worth $29.23 billion and imported goods worth $58.30 billion, according to Chinese customs’ data.