Ex-leader says Brazil won’t follow China’s low-wage model

February 14, 2014

Rick Gladstone – The New York Times, 1/12/2014

Despite Brazil’s sharp slowdown in economic growth, the country has no intention of emulating China’s low-wage model of competitiveness as a way to promote prosperity, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Wednesday.

Mr. da Silva, one of Brazil’s most popular and powerful politicians, who presided over a remarkable expansion in the economy and a decline in poverty during his two terms in office that ended in 2011, also said the country sees its future in investing in education and promoting a technologically skilled work force.

He spoke in an interview with editors during a visit to The New York Times, where he defended the economic progress made under his administration and the policies of his successor, Dilma Rousseff, whom he mentored. Ms. Rousseff faces re-election in October, but lacks Mr. da Silva’s popularity.

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Brazil and China’s economic tug of war

November 4, 2013

Gwynn Guilford – The Atlantic, 11/04/2013

Brazil and China can’t seem to agree on what either country is getting out of their economic ties. Take this most recent example: China Construction Bank, a huge state-owned lender, just sunk around $716 million into a 72 percent stake in Brazil’s Banco Industrial e Comercial, a nearly 19 percent premium on BicBanco’s current share price. Some might argue that the move positions CCB to profit from Chinese investment in Brazil. But to hear the head of another Chinese bank tell it, that might be a naive move.

“The ardor for investment in Brazil is fading. Operating in Brazil is a huge challenge,” Zhang Dongxiang, CEO of Bank of China’s Brazil unit, told Reuters. “Public opinion sometimes seems to be against foreign investment … as if it makes local industry less competitive.”
Zhang blames his wariness about investment in Brazil on the protectionist policies of the country’s president, Dilma Rousseff. In an effort to boost dwindling government coffers, Rousseff has enacted policies such as taxing foreign-made cars and limiting the land available for purchase by foreigners.

Chinese investors sour on Brazil, and projects melt away

November 1, 2013

Brian Winter & Caroline Stauffer – Reuters, 11/01/2013

For Chinese investors, Brazil is no longer the promised land.

After making a big push into the South American giant in search of raw materials such as iron ore, as well as a promising market for their consumer goods, Chinese executives have grown frustrated with stagnant economic growth, heavy costs and what they see as a political and popular backlash against their presence.

As a result, Chinese investment is falling, and as much as two-thirds of the roughly $70 billion in projects announced since 2007 is either on hold or has been canceled, according to recent studies and interviews with Chinese and Brazilian officials.

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Brazil-China: a growing alliance

July 29, 2013

Charles Tang – World Policy, 07/25/2013

As the Obama administration is preparing its “Pivot to the Pacific,” China is continuing to build its long-standing commercial alliance with Latin America and the Caribbean by charming the region with trade and investments.

Between 2000 and 2012, trade between China and Latin America grew by 2,550 percent from little over $10 billion to $255.5 billion. Trade between Brazil, the region’s giant and fellow BRICS member, and China, leaped from $6.5 billion in 2003 to $77 billion by the end of 2011 and $75 billion in 2012.

China became Brazil’s largest export destination in 2009 and in 2010 was Brazil’s most important source of imports and its main direct foreign investor. Chinese investments in Brazilian assets surpassed $20 billion in 2010 from a negligible accumulated sum of $292 million only one year before.

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Africa: breaking the rules of development cooperation – China and Brazil in African agriculture

July 15, 2013

Carol Smythyes – All Africa, 07/15/2013

New research published by the Institute of Development Studies reveals the realities of how the BRICS and Africa are engaging in agricultural development cooperation.

The questions of how Africa can feed itself, and how the agricultural sector can be a more effective engine for growth and development, have long been a target of international development efforts from western donors. But the emergence of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries as major players has raised hopes that agricultural models and experiments from Brazil or China can be transferred or adapted to African countries.

In the first-ever study on this subject, research supported by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and convened by the Future Agricultures Consortium at the Institute of Development Studies reveals some of the realities that lie behind these agricultural ‘models’ and highlights how Brazil and China are engaging with Africa in very different ways.

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BRICS seek to limit fallout of U.S. stimulus withdrawal

June 25, 2013

Alonso Soto – Reuters, 06/24/2013

Major emerging-market nations will work together to limit the effects that a strong U.S. dollar could have on their economies as the Federal Reserve signals plans to scale back its massive stimulus program, the Brazilian government said on Monday.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, discussed ways to strengthen policy coordination on Monday in a telephone conversation, said Thomas Traumann, spokesman for the Brazilian government.

Rousseff will contact other leaders of the BRICS group, which include Russia, India and South Africa, later this week to discuss concrete measures.

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Economics lessons from China and Brazil can teach each other

May 24, 2013

Katy Barnato – CNBC, 05/23/2013

They may both be “BRICs“, but China and Brazil face opposite problems and should take tips from each other, according to a report by Capital Economics published on Thursday.

“Brazil in essence needs to become more like China, with its investment growth, and China needs to learn from Brazil in how to support consumer spending,” said Capital Economics’ chief emerging markets economist, Neil Shearing, in a pan-EM report.

Growth has slowed in both the EM giants, as the impact of euro zone woes and a sluggish U.S. economy is felt in countries with previously robust economies. However, Shearing said that Brazil’s and China’s difficulties were largely rooted in country-specific, but contrasting, problems.

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Brazil’s Vale Still Sees ‘Long March’ for Ships to Enter China

April 25, 2013

Paul Kiernan – Fox Business/Dow Jones Newswires, 04/25/2013

Brazilian mining company Vale SA (VALE) still sees a “long march” ahead in the effort to obtain authorization from China to berth its supersize iron-ore freighters in the country, executives said Thursday.

The company docked a vessel in China earlier this month that was partially loaded and had a lower draft in order to accommodate local regulations, said Jose Carlos Martins, Vale’s head of ferrous and strategy, in a conference call.

“It’s not a fully loaded Valemax, but it was another important step,” he said, referring to the company’s nickname for the vessels. “I think that to berth a Valemax in China will be a long march for us.”

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China and Brazil sign $30bn currency swap deal

March 27, 2013

RT, 03/27/2013

A $30 billion currency swap deal between Brazil and China is expected to smooth trade between the two countries despite changing global financial conditions and future crises.

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in South Africa. Plans for the currency swap were first announced last year at the Rio+20 environmental summit. The idea is that the central banks of the two trading partners are to swap local currency worth up to 190 billion yuan or 60 billion reais ($30 billion) in case turmoil hits the global financial system. 

“If there were shocks to the global financial market, with credit running short, we’d have credit from our biggest international partner, so there would be no interruption of trade,” said Guido Mantega, Brazil’s Economy Minister as quoted by BBC.

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Brazil, China to ink deal on trade in national currency

March 26, 2013

Daily Mirror/AFP, 03/25/2013

Brazil hopes to sign a bilateral accord with China to promote trade in their national currencies at next week’s BRICS summit of the world’s five emerging powers, Trade and Industry Minister Fernando Pimentel said.

The initiative was tentatively agreed last June with the signing of a memorandum of understanding after a meeting of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and then Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao during the UN summit on sustainable development in Rio.

Pimentel said that at the BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa on Monday and Tuesday “we plan to turn this memorandum into a final agreement which is being finalized by central banks of the two countries.”

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