Brazil-China Relations in Contemporary Global Crises

Xi and Lula

            Keiko Rikimaru

            Open University of Japan



Brazil and China are two of the most influential countries in the world today, with Brazil being the largest country in South America and China being the most populous nation on Earth. Over the years, their bilateral relationship has grown stronger, particularly in the economic and political spheres. This essay will examine the contemporary Brazil-China relations, focusing on their trade ties, political cooperation, and cultural exchanges.

One of the key features of the Brazil-China relationship is their robust trade ties. In recent years, China has become Brazil's largest trading partner, and Brazil is China's ninth-largest trading partner. The bilateral trade volume between the two countries has grown significantly, reaching a record high of $100 billion in 2020. China's demand for Brazilian agricultural commodities, such as soybeans and meat, has been a driving force behind this growth, as Brazil is one of the world's largest producers of these goods. Additionally, Brazil has been exporting iron ore, crude oil, and other raw materials to China, which has fueled China's rapid economic growth over the years.

Moreover, Brazil and China have strengthened their political cooperation in recent years. They have been working together in international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the G20, to address global issues such as climate change, economic development, and international trade. In 2018, Brazil and China signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen cooperation in areas such as investment, infrastructure, and energy. Additionally, they have been cooperating in the field of technology, particularly in the development of 5G networks.

In terms of cultural exchanges, Brazil and China have been promoting mutual understanding and appreciation of each other's culture. The two countries have organized cultural events, such as the China-Brazil Cultural Exchange Year, which was held in 2009, to showcase their cultural diversity. The Confucius Institute, a non-profit organization that promotes Chinese language and culture around the world, has established several branches in Brazil to facilitate cultural exchange between the two countries. Additionally, Brazilian schools have been teaching Chinese as a second language, and Chinese schools have been teaching Portuguese, which has helped to promote cultural understanding between the two nations.

However, the Brazil-China relationship is not without challenges. There have been concerns over the trade imbalance between the two countries, with Brazil exporting mostly raw materials to China and importing manufactured goods from China. Additionally, there have been concerns over the environmental impact of China's demand for Brazilian commodities, particularly soybeans and meat, which has led to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Brazil has been under pressure from the international community to address this issue and reduce its carbon emissions.

In conclusion, the contemporary Brazil-China relationship is characterized by strong economic ties, political cooperation, and cultural exchanges. While there are challenges that need to be addressed, the two countries have demonstrated a willingness to work together to overcome them. As the global balance of power shifts, Brazil and China's relationship will continue to be an important factor in shaping the world's political and economic landscape.

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