Prime Minister of People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang arrived in Brazil on Monday as part of his official visit which will be culminated with some major economic and commercial deals worth to billions of dollars.
Keqiang will seal nearly 50-billion-dollar worth of 30 agreements in investment on infrastructure as Brazil prepares to host next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after it organised FIFA World Cup last year.
The Chinese Premier is scheduled to meet with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday to hold talks for enhancing Chinese-Brazilian “comprehensive strategic partnership and safeguard the common interest of developing countries,” according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.
The respective countries are said to sign cooperative agreements in politics, economy and trade, finance, technology and agriculture as a continuation of joint action plan of 2010-14 in order to further deepen bilateral economic cooperation.
In parallel to its increasing demand for raw materials, China has recently increased its economic presence in Latin America and has become one of the significant trade partners of the continent’s emerging economies including Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.
Since China became a member in the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, its commerce with Latin America has bounced up to nearly 270 billion dollars from 10 billion dollars.
The trade volume between Beijing and Brasilia however reached nearly 80 billion dollars by the end of 2014, which makes China the biggest commercial partner of Brazil.
China and Brazil also closely cooperate with the BRICS, the acronym for an association of five major emerging markets including Russia, India and South Africa.
Brazil and China are also closely working on the construction of a mega railway project which will traverse Latin America from Brazil’s Atlantic coasts to Peru’s Pacific shores.
The cost of the railway is estimated about at least 10 billion dollars according to preliminary feasibility reports and that Chinese business is expected to undertake some sections of the project.
The project, dubbed the Transoceanic or Trans-Latin American Railway, first came to fore after Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping signed 30 cooperation agreements in areas such as commerce, education, energy and transportation in July 2014.
The parties then agreed on the construction of a Chinese-Brazilian railway which would provide the shipment of Brazilian goods and commodities, mostly grains, to China via the Andes route to Peru on the Pacific coast.
The railway line is expected to be unveiled next month as part of Rousseff's new infrastructure projects to further accelerate Brazil’s sustainable development.
The envisaged train route will enable commodities and people to be transported more quickly to Latin American major ports, such as Santos in São Paulo state and Acu in Rio de Janeiro, through bypassing the Panama Canal in the north.
Brazil’s re-elected President Rousseff, who has been struggling with a bribery scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras since last year, regards the country’s huge infrastructure projects as an economic and political tool for securing Brazil’s role as regional leader in Latin America.
The Chinese PM Keqiang will leave Brazil for other official visits to Colombia, Peru and Chile, the countries have also a significant place in Chinese foreign economic trade in Latin America.