Opinion: Brazil’s Bolsonaro Can’t Afford to Upset Ties with China
Brazil’s far-right ex-army captain Jair Bolsonaro rode a wave of voter rage to the presidency on Sunday, writes CGTN’s Liu Jianxi. Described as “Brazil’s Trump” for his homophobic and misogynistic remarks, Bolsonaro’s victory has triggered widespread controversies.
There is nothing wrong with Brazil’s political pendulum swinging to the right. The question facing the country is how far to the right it will swing and how this will affect the country’s relations with major powers, including China.
Moreover, the far-right leader’s tough Beijing stance is at odds with Brazilian companies and farmers, for whom China is an indispensable investor and export consumer. China displaced the US as Brazil’s largest trading partner in 2009 and has become a new source of financing in the Brazilian economy. In 2017, Brazil’s exports to China reached 50.2 billion USD, accounting for over 23% of its total amount.
Brazil’s farming lobby, one of Bolsonaro’s most fervent supporters, has stated that a good relationship with China is paramount. Brazilian exports of soy to China rose by 22% in value this year, with about 80% of its soy shipments heading there, according to media reports.