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Cooperation founded on friendship

By YANG WANMING | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-09-21 08:36


Even as they fight the COVID-19 jointly, China and Brazil are looking at how to strengthen ties in the post-pandemic era

China and Brazil are the largest developing countries in the Eastern and Western hemispheres respectively, and their friendship is long standing and well established. Thanks to the efforts of several generations, the two countries have continually deepened mutual political trust and their pragmatic cooperation has yielded fruitful results since the establishment of diplomatic ties 46 years ago.

Brazil was the first country to establish a strategic partnership and the first Latin American nation to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership with China. China has been Brazil's top trading partner and largest export destination for 11 consecutive years, and is also one of Brazil's main sources of foreign investment.

The two countries began their space cooperation in early 1980s and have jointly developed and launched five earth resources satellites since then. People-to-people contact and cultural exchanges have become more frequent. The strategic and overall influence of bilateral ties has been continuously enhanced. As a result, China-Brazil ties have been hailed as a model of cooperation among emerging markets.

Following the novel coronavirus outbreak early this year, leaders of China and Brazil reached an important consensus on pandemic control and cooperation in various fields. All walks of life in both countries joined hands to defeat the virus.

During China's toughest moment in the fight against the pandemic, the Brazilian people expressed their sincere support and the Chinese government provided batches of urgently needed medical supplies to Brazil once the virus spread there.

More than 20 provinces and cities and over 30 enterprises in China have donated medical supplies to Brazil, including ventilators, CT scanners, protective clothing, detection kits and hospital beds worth 40 million Brazil Real ($7.67 million) in total. China has also hosted about 30 online meetings, enabling science academies and medical teams in the two countries to share their experience in fighting against the virus. The Chinese government helped Brazil purchase 1,200 metric tons of anti-pandemic products in China.

In addition, biopharmaceutical producers in the two countries are speeding up cooperation in developing a vaccine. All these point to the deep friendship between the people of the two countries and their firm will to conquer difficulties together.

China-Brazil cooperation is progressing steadily despite the adverse situation. According to Brazil's statistics, in the first seven months of this year, the total trade volume of the two countries increased by more than 7 percent year-on-year, and Brazil's exports to China increased by 15 percent, with exports of agricultural products alone increasing by more than 30 percent.

Construction of Brazil's scientific research station in Antarctica, which was contracted to a Chinese enterprise, has finished and the Chinese manufacturing industry's first overseas bank was settled in Brazil at the beginning of the year.

Recently, the super large offshore gasoline plant built by China began operations in the Santos basin oilfield in Brazil, and Chinese enterprises have officially participated in the gas power station project in the port in Rio de Janeiro.

Enterprises of the two countries will also jointly manufacture electric buses. These achievements demonstrate that China-Brazil pragmatic cooperation is highly complementary, mutually beneficial and resilient with great potential.

At present, both China and Brazil face the common challenges of fighting the pandemic, stabilizing the economy and ensuring people's livelihoods. The governments, enterprises and industry associations of the two countries are also planning cooperation in various fields during and after the pandemic.

As for trade, the two countries are highly complementary in the supply and demand of agricultural and animal husbandry products. As China's economy recovers from the impacts of the pandemic, its domestic market's consumption potential and demand for Brazil's specialties will increase steadily, creating demand for more imports of high-quality products and services from Brazil. In particular, as China's urbanization and residents' consumption are upgraded, the demand for food, meat and poultry, fruit, dairy products, coffee and other special and high value-added products from Brazil will increase.

Although the pandemic has temporarily hindered personnel exchanges, economic and trade negotiations, project investigation and other activities, it has not dampened the two countries' enthusiasm to seek investment and cooperation. Brazilian government has held a group of online project promotional events for Chinese enterprises while China is paying close attention to Brazil's post-pandemic development strategies and policies in infrastructure, agriculture, energy and other key areas.

China hopes that the two sides will continue to maintain flexible communication, synergize their respective development plans and promote cooperation on specific projects.

As hegemony, unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise all over the world, aggravating the instability and uncertainty of the world situation, China and Brazil share a wide range of common interests in promoting multilateralism and supporting free trade and other major issues.

They also share a lot of common concerns on non-traditional challenges such as data and internet security, public healthcare and environmental protection. The two sides can further strengthen their cooperation, enhance communication and coordination, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries and emerging markets within the frameworks of BRICS and the G20.

During the pandemic, there has been rapid growth of new industries such as those of the contactless economy, distance education and online health services. These emerging modes of production, sales and consumption, as well as novel ways of employment and investment, can be new driving forces to boost and upgrade China-Brazil cooperation.

The two countries enjoy strong complementarity in cooperating on science and technology innovations. Both sides can give full play to their advantages, expand cooperation in emerging industries such as 5G technology, clean energy, modern agriculture and the digital economy, and promote cooperation in related fields.

Looking to the future, China-Brazil cooperation holds unlimited potential, full motivation and broad prospects. The two countries will continue to move forward hand-in-hand, seize new opportunities amid the crisis, promote the sustainable and in-depth development of China-Brazil comprehensive strategic partnership, and bring more benefits to the two peoples.

The author is the Chinese ambassador to Brazil. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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