- Chinese president Xi Jinping will meet with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for the first time at the G20 meeting this week.
- Bolsonaro criticized China’s commercial interests in Brazil during his 2018 campaign, but has changed his tune since taking office in 2019.
- Trade and technology are likely discussion topics, along with plans for further meetings this year.
- Read more on Markets Insider.
The US is not the only country hoping to address the impact of Chinese trade at the G20 meeting.
Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president, will have a 40-minute meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan this week, Reuters reported.
Bolsonaro, who has often been compared to President Donald Trump, has had a rocky relationship with China since he began his campaign for office in 2018. On the campaign trail, he raged against China, calling it an economic predator looking to buy Brazil and claiming that he would distance relations with the country if elected. When he assumed the presidency, however, his message flipped, he welcomed Chinese investment in Brazil, and said the two countries should expand trade.
Now, it seems as though both countries are aware of the importance of a relationship and are willing to talk. Xi and Bolsonaro will likely discuss plans for their next few meetings this year. Bolsonaro plans to visit Beijing later this year, and Xi will visit Brazil in November for the BRICS leading emerging economies summit.
Trade is also likely to come up, and although there is a lot of focus on the conflict between the US and China, Brazil is also a key player. Both countries have benefited from trade — Brazilian exports have supported China’s industrial rise, and lifted the wealth of many citizens in Brazil. Still, Bolsonaro’s previously anti-Chinese comments have worried the country’s officials, as China needs to maintain good relationships with its trading partners as its economy slows.
But Brazil may be ready to play nice with its largest trading partner and the largest buyer of its soybeans and iron ore. It’s looking to grow its commodities exports to China, and the conflict between the US and China may open a door. If talks between the US and China deteriorate, for example, Brazil could see increased buying of products such as soybeans and meat from China, said Rashmi Gupta, a money manager at JPMorgan Chase Bank.
Technology may also be a topic of discussion between Brazil and China.
The US has blacklisted Chinese tech giant Huawei, along with Australia, New Zealand and Japan and companies that include Google, Microsoft and Facebook. Brazil, however, has not barred Huawei even though the US has warned about potential security concerns.
Thus, the largest country in Latin America may have become more important to Huawei, especially as Brazil plans to launch its own 5G network next year. TIM Participacoes SA, a Brazilian wireless carrier, still uses Huawei’s technology to test networks in southern Brazil. Huawei recently said it relaunched its smartphones in the Brazilian market, and has plans to make phones in the country as well.