September 18, 2019
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China, Brazil agree to boost trade, cooperation

Beijing, May 23 (efe-epa).- The vice presidents of China and Brazil presided here Thursday over the fifth gathering of the Sino-Brazilian High-Level Commission (Cosban), in which the two countries agreed to boost trade and bolster cooperation in all areas.

The minutes of the meeting, to which EFE obtained access, said Wang Qishan and Hamilton Mourao "positively valued recent progress" in the bilateral relationship and discussed preparations for a new 10-year plan governing the nations' ties for the 2022-2031 period.

A day after Mourao expressed the need to "update" Cosban, which was created in 2004 "when trade was 11 times smaller," the two vice presidents on Thursday pledged to "improve its structure."

With respect to the sixth Cosban session, it has been confirmed that it will take place in Beijing and that Wang accepted his Brazilian counterpart's invitation to preside over the gathering once again.

The fifth meeting of the high-level commission - and first since 2015 - also ended with the promise that China and Brazil will facilitate trade and promote the exchange of high-quality imports and exports.

Mourao's complaint on Wednesday during his speech before the China-Brazil Business Council about the "persistence" of exports of low-value-added products to the Asian giant was taken up in Thursday's meeting.

The gathering ended with a commitment to "create the conditions to diversify and increase the value-added of the products sold by Brazil to China."

China has been Brazil's biggest trading partner since 2009, with the value of their bilateral trade amounting to $98.9 billion last year alone, according to official figures.

Also in the trade area, these two members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group of major emerging national economies agreed to "promote free-trade flows in the farm and animal products sector" with a view to Chinese pears and aquiculture products entering Brazil and Brazilian melons making their way to China.

The minutes of the gathering also mention other products that will be included on bilateral free-trade lists once sanitary requirements have been met: dairy products, pork parts, thermally processed beef, soy protein for animal feed, avian genetic material and bovine blood plasma.

Wang and Mourao said they were satisfied with an agreement that obviates the need for a World Trade Organization panel to settle a dispute filed by Brazil over China's alleged restrictions on Brazilian sugar imports.

The possibility of Brazil joining the massive Belt and Road Initiative, China's signature infrastructure program, also was a key item on the agenda during Mourao's visit.

No concrete announcements were made in that respect except for an acknowledgment of "possible synergies" between the two countries' development policies and investment programs.

Their ties, according to the minutes of the Cosban meeting, also will focus on "key bilateral projects" in areas such as energy and mining, infrastructure and logistics and agriculture, as well as space cooperation, with the possibility of new joint satellite projects.

Regarding the current global situation, the two leaders expressed support for multilateralism and free trade and opposition to protectionism.

They also said their countries have achieved stable development despite persistent challenges and global economic pressures.

Mourao's trip to China was a prelude to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's scheduled visit to the Asian nation in the second half of the year.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, for his part, plans to visit Brazil in November to take part in a BRICS summit in Brasilia.

Mourao said that he will meet with Xi on Friday and deliver a letter with a political message from Brazil's president.

vec/mc

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