June 13, 2019
By Ricardo Brito and Lisandra Paraguassu
BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil wants Chinese investment in infrastructure projects as long as investors create local jobs and play by Brazilian rules, Vice President Hamilton Mourao told Reuters in an interview.
Mourao met with Chinese leader Xi Jingping in China last month as part of efforts to maintain warm relations with Brazil’s top trading partner. While campaigning last year, President Jair Bolsonaro had warned that China was trying to “buy Brazil,” but he has since taken a more pragmatic approach.
In a Wednesday interview in Brasilia, Mourao said Brazilian infrastructure was hindering productivity and Chinese investment is welcome as long as it follows local rules.
“A Chinese company cannot arrive here and bring 100,000 Chinese people to work in Brazil,” he said.
He added that he had not spoken with the Chinese about any particular infrastructure projects during his trip, but that he saw room for Chinese investment in rail, road and port projects.
Regarding the trade war between the United States and China, Mourao described Brazil’s position as “pragmatic and flexible,” seeking to make decisions in the Brazilian interest without taking sides.
Despite a deal with Washington for the United States to safeguard U.S. space technology at Brazil’s Alcantara launch site near the equator, China could also become a partner at the base, he said.
Mourao said China had not expressed any particular interest in such an agreement, but he noted that science and technology cooperation was an area of potential growth between the nations.
Mourao also reiterated that Chinese telecom company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd would not be excluded from operating a fifth-generation (5G) mobile telecoms network in Latin America’s largest economy, but would be expected to play fair.
Mourao, who met with Huawei Chief Executive Ren Zhengfei on a trip to China last month said: “I have spoke clearly with the CEO of Huawei, and told him they have to give us confidence that … the data they have will not be put in the hands of the Chinese (government).”
(Reporting by Ricardo Brito and Lisandra Paraguassu; writing by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Tom Brown)