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Brazil-China: What's Next After Rousseff's Visit?

May 05, 2011

Matías Spektor has a feature article in the Spring 2011 issue of Americas Quarterly titled "One Foot in the Region; Eyes on the Global Prize." It can be accessed here.

President Dilma Rousseff’s five-day trip to China in mid-April yielded modest but palpable progress in a trade relationship that is now Brazil’s most important and quickly expanding. But challenges lurk in the short to medium term.

During the visit China agreed to let Brazil’s Embraer sell up to $1.4 billion worth of regional jets and assemble a luxury aircraft line (but there was no progress on the divisive issues of procurement and intellectual property). China also granted licenses to three Brazilian suppliers to sell pork; this while turning down 10 other Brazilian applicants.

The Chinese government also announced that China-based Foxconn has plans to invest some $12 billion in Brazil for a new iPad assembly plant in São Paulo that might eventually develop components as well. If this materializes, then thousands of Brazilian engineers and about 100,000 workers would benefit. Yet the initial excitement quickly wore off once commentators recalled similar Chinese announcements in the past that never materialized. Others pointed out Brazil lacks the human resources to make the plan happen even if the monies are forthcoming.

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Matías Spektor is assistant professor of international relations at Fundação Getulio Vargas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.