After a decade of growing economic ties between China and Brazil, the global financial crisis has helped push the two countries even closer together, Clodoaldo Hugueney, Brazil's Ambassador to China told the China Daily's website in an exclusive interview.
The crisis provides "an opportunity for China and Brazil to sustain to their growth, and for both of them to rely on a growing relationship that will develop into a much more important relationship for both countries," he said.
In part, this is because the crisis disproportionately affected developed countries, leaving both Brazil and China in stronger positions relative to nations like the US, Hugueney explained. But it is also the culmination of a nearly ten-year-old old trend of deepening political and economic ties between the two countries.
President Lula de Silva has visited China three times since taking office, most recently in May, where he and Hu Jintao signed a series of economic cooperation agreements. Vice President Xi Jinping visited Brazil as a part of a broader trip to the region in February. And as noted China scholar David Shambaugh observed in a speech before the China-Brazil Business Council in Sao Paulo, bilateral trade between the two countries "has surged 50 percent annually since 2006 and 1200 percent since 2000," nearly reaching $40 billion in 2008. China is now Brazil's largest trading partner.
This sort of growing trade and diplomatic engagement is also a part of what Hugueney sees as a larger international role for China as the country approaches the 60th anniversary of its founding.
"The next thirty years to me are going to be a period for the projection of China in the world. Chinese power is going to grow, and China's projection into the world is going to grow," Hugueney said. "China will make a contribution in the shaping of the new world financial, monetary, and political order, and will take a leading role in promoting the cause of development and in improving the situation of developing countries."
However, this increasing international profile does present some challenges. For Brazil, these include increased competition and the danger of cultural misunderstandings, Hugueney says.
"When your knowledge of your partner is not very good, this can create misunderstandings, simply because you don't really understand really what is the intention of the other side," he observes.
More specifically, Hugueney notes, in some areas, "exports from China to Brazil compete with local Brazilian industry." And, he says, because Brazil exports mostly commodities to China in exchange for industrial goods, the sectors in Brazil that are hurt by trade with China are rarely able to take advantage of any of its benefits. As a result, as the two countries move forward, Brazil and China must "develop a more balanced relationship," he says.