Brazil welcomes Chinese investment in infrastructure projects as long as investors create jobs and play by local rules, the South American country’s Vice President Hamilton Mourao said.
Mourao met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last month as part of efforts to maintain warm relations with Brazil’s top trading partner.
While campaigning last year, Brazilian 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 was welcome as long as it followed local rules.
“A Chinese company cannot arrive here and bring 100,000 Chinese people to work in Brazil,” he said.
He said he did not speak about any particular projects during his trip to China, 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 US to safeguard its own space technology at Brazil’s Alcantara launch site near the equator, China could also become a partner at the base, he said.
Beijing had not expressed any particular interest in such an agreement, but Mourao said that science and technology cooperation was an area of potential growth between the nations.
He also reiterated that Chinese telecoms company Huawei would not be excluded from operating a fifth-generation mobile network in Latin America’s largest economy, but would be expected to play fair.
Mourao, who met Huawei Chief Executive Ren Zhengfei while in China last month, said: “I have spoken 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.”