The dozens of agreements signed this week by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff elevate China’s importance to Latin America and reflect a decline in the United States’ influence in the region, BBC Brazil said on Wednesday.
Quoting Stephan Mothe, an analyst from the Euromonitor International based in Brazil, the British Broadcasting Corp said that deals with China and financing from Chinese banks make Latin American countries less dependent on the US and multilateral organizations connected with it, such as the IMF and the World Bank.
Because of that, US leverage over those countries is diminished, as is their ability to pressure those countries to adopt certain policies.
According to the BBC, in addition to expanding its influence in Latin America, China’s actions represent a way to mitigate its own economic deceleration.
China also plans to diversify its business with Latin America in order to counter the argument that its relations with the region are relations of dependency – China mostly imports raw materials and exports industrial products to Latin American countries.
Li’s eight-day trip to Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Peru started with the signing of numerous deals with Brazil in areas such as infrastructure, energy, mining, technology and aviation, amounting to $53 billion.
Brazil’s largest companies, oil and gas giant Petrobras and miner Vale, signed deals with China. Aircraft manufacturer Embraer signed a deal to sell 22 planes to China, and Chinese company Ceiec was announced as the company that will build Brazil’s science base in Antarctica, which was destroyed by a fire three years ago.
A forum attended by hundreds of Chinese and Brazilian businesspeople took place in Brazil’s capital city Brasilia. Li and Rousseff signed a 2015-2021 Joint Action Plan to boost relations.
Plans for a major railway connecting Brazil to the Pacific Ocean through Peru also were disclosed. Brazil would be able to use ports in Peru to send its products to China, cutting travel time significantly.
Li asked Brazil to make visa concessions for workers of Chinese companies to enter Brazil, daily Folha de Sao Paulo reported.
According to Folha, Li placed great importance on the matter by asking about the subject in public. He also said that Chinese companies themselves have requested that he work on visa changes.
“Chinese companies told me that they expect the Brazilian government to issue visas to Chinese technicians more easily, as they come to Brazil to contribute to local development and help in training,” Li said.
Such a request must involve reciprocity, so Li said he asked China’s Foreign Ministry to make visa concessions easier as well.
In addition, Li said he will demand that Chinese workers in Brazil respect its laws and customs and asked that Brazil give more guarantees of security to the Chinese workers.
Folha also stressed the importance of Chinese investments, reporting the prospects of a train factory to be set up in Rio de Janeiro state.
Daily newspapers Valor and O Estado de Minas highlighted a future industrial pole in Jacarei, Sao Paulo state, to be built around the local factory of Chinese car manufacturer Chery, featuring several Chery suppliers.
The investments are high, amounting to $700 million, and the pole will occupy an area of 4 million square meters.
Valor stressed that Chery has already invested $530 million in its own factory, inaugurated nine months ago, and reported that the new industrial park will generate 5,000 local jobs.
BRUNA GAMA in RIO DE JANEIRO for China Daily