Brazil, China presidents meet in Beijing
Economic links between the two countries continue to grow especially in infrastructure
6 Nov 2019 | Michael Marray

President Xi Jinping held talks with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 25.

Xi called on both countries to view each other as development opportunities, prioritize the relations with each other in their foreign policies, and push forward the China-Brazil comprehensive strategic partnership.

Brazil is the biggest economy in Latin America, and under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has emerged as a major backer of infrastructure projects in areas such as power generation and transmission, ports and oil and gas.

Xi said China stands ready to import more Brazilian products, including products with high added value, and expand cooperation in the areas of agriculture, energy, mining, aerospace, and infrastructure construction.

China has invested particularly heavily in the Brazilian energy sector. In August, State Grid Brazil Holdings completed testing on the new 800 kV ultra-high-voltage power transmission line that connects the Belo Monte hydro facilities in the northern state of Para to the heavily populated southeast region, which includes Rio de Janeiro. The 2,539-kilometre line costs 8.77 billion real (US$2.2 billion).

SGBH is looking at participating in new National Electric Power Agency (Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica, Aneel) auctions for existing assets and is also interested in developing greenfield projects.

China is a major importer of Brazilian commodities such as grains, soy beans and iron ore, and is helping develop the transport infrastructure as part of the BRI.

In Sao Luis, capital of the northeastern state of Maranhao, work has begun on a new US$500 million port project being built by a consortium led by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).

The one-kilometre jetty will have space for three ships to dock at a depth of at least 20 meters. It should be operational within three years. From northern Brazil, ships carrying commodities can reach the Panama Canal quite rapidly and sail onwards to China. 

There is also Chinese participation in offshore oil and gas production. This week, the latest blockbuster auction of oil rights is taking place for the offshore "transfer-of-rights" (TOR) area.

TOR holds billions of barrels of oil underneath a layer of salt under the ocean floor, part of the so-called "pre-salt" exploration zone.

Among those expected to participate are BP, Chevron Corp, China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Corp (CNODC), China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), Ecopetrol SA, Exxon Mobil Corp, Petronas, Qatar Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell plc.

The sucessful bidders are expected to pay so-called signing bonuses for a combined total of around US$26 billion.

And in the transport sector, in August the Governor of Parana State, Carlos Massa Ratinho, and representatives from the Secretariat of Infrastructure & Logistics presented proposals to the China Merchants Group concerning future rail projects connecting to the port of Paranagua. Two years ago, China Merchants Port Holdings paid US$925 million for a 90% stake in the operator of the container terminal at Paranagua.