Il Brasile scopre che i legami con la Cina cominciano a logorarsi

Tesi WSJ:
crescente import di manufatti cinesi provoca reazione
protezionistica in Brasile, come già in EU e USA.

  • Ultimi 5 anni import cinese di prodotti brasiliani
    (soia e minerale di ferro in testa) si è moltiplicato per 8 volte, permettendo
    la ripresa dell’economia brasiliana.
  • Ma con abolizione quote tessili l’attivo commerciale
    del Brasile con la Cina si è dimezzato (unico dato fornito: export BRA=>Cina
    8 mesi =4,1MD$). BRA esporta materie prime, importa manufatti.
  • Vi è stato scontro di gruppi e frazioni brasiliani:
    esportatori agricoli e il gigante minerario Companhia Vale do Rio Doce
    erano contrari a misure di protezione;
  • ma le lobby dei settori colpiti hanno ottenuto di poter
    chiedere imposizione quote o aumento delle tariffe su import cinesi.
  • Anche Argentina ha avuto boom import da Cina
    (+70% in 7 mesi, contro export +22%, ma conserva forte surplus), ed ha imposto restrizioni
    non tariffarie
    su import tessili e calzature cinesi.
  • BRA lamenta anche ritardo nei promessi investimenti
    infrastrutturali cinesi
    , che tuttavia sarebbe dovuto soprattutto alla
    paralisi del governo in seguito agli scandali per corruzione.
  • Queste tensioni non toccherebbe tuttavia l’alleanza
    BRA-CINA in quanto paesi leader del G20 nelle trattative WTO.

Textile and Trade Quarrels
Slow Pace of Investment,

Quickly Irritate Relations



October 10, 2005

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — At a huge Chinese art
exhibition shortly after he took office in 2003, Brazilian President Luis
Inácio Lula da Silva was effusive about the bilateral relationship.
"If the Chinese believe in China and the Brazilians believe in Brazil, this
could be the two countries’ century
," he said.
A couple of years later, the trans-Pacific
romance is on the rocks because of a massive tide of cheap Chinese imports
flooding Brazil. Meanwhile, Mr. da Silva is facing criticism at home for having
moved too quickly to embrace China in his effort to find a counterweight to
U.S. influence.
For Brazil, China’s booming market helped
the Latin giant climb out of an economic hole earlier in the decade, with
Brazilian exports of raw materials such as soybeans and iron ore key to its
. Now, the dispute with China shows that the Asian powerhouse may
represent as much a headache as a help for Brazil.
"The expected investments and strategic
alliance that loomed in 2004 between China and Brazil are far from becoming a
reality," says Riordan Roett, a Latin America expert at Johns Hopkins
The two countries now are trying to pick
up the pieces from trade negotiators’ failure in Beijing last week to reach a
deal that would lead to a voluntary restriction of some Chinese exports to
. Like the U.S. and the European Union, Brazil was inundated with
inexpensive Chinese textiles when a decades-old clothing-quota system was
at the beginning of this year. Both the U.S. and EU quickly imposed
trade sanctions on certain Chinese clothing imports; since then the EU has
reached an accord with China that allows for a gradual increase in Chinese
imports. The U.S. and China are still at odds over how to control textile
imports, with talks expected to resume Wednesday and Thursday in Beijing.
After its talks last week with China failed, Brazil
issued a decree that will allow companies to ask the government to slap
safeguards — quotas or higher tariffs — against Chinese imports. The move
followed months of heavy lobbying by Brazilian shoe, toy and textile makers
which have been hurt by Chinese competition.
Brazilians are disappointed by the meager
returns from the government’s move last November to recognize China as a market
economy. Such status makes it harder for Brazil to impose antidumping penalties
on China. Brazil’s complaint is that while it exports a lot to China — $4.1
billion through the first eight months of the year — the majority of its
exports are commodities and low-value-added goods. Meanwhile, Brazil is
experiencing a surge in imports of Chinese manufactured goods that has reduced
its bilateral trade surplus 51%
from the same period last year. And billions
of dollars of promised Chinese investment in infrastructure have been slow in
Some analysts fault Brazilian negotiators for
having moved too quickly to embrace China. "I think [Brazil] gave away a
lot without obtaining much back," says Joao Marcus Marinho Nunes, an
economist for the AgoraSenior brokerage firm. "Running after concessions
after you’ve already given something away isn’t good business."
China’s ambassador to the World Trade
Organization, Sun Zhenyu, said last week that Brazil’s move to apply import
restrictions "would not be positive for the relationship between the two
countries." He said China had been under the impression that negotiations
between the two countries would continue.
Some analysts say the Chinese aren’t entirely
to blame for the slow pace of expected infrastructure investments in Brazil. Mr.
da Silva’s administration delayed developing the investment rules and cutting
the bureaucracy standing in the way of some of the planned Chinese investments
they say. Part of the problem is that the Brazilian government has been
virtually paralyzed by a corruption scandal for the past several months.
Brazil isn’t the only Latin American economy
that feels let down by its recent expansion of trade ties with China. Argentina
also granted China market status last November. In the first seven months of
this year, Argentine imports from China grew 70% while exports grew 22%. Even
though Argentina still runs a large trade surplus with China
, in August
Argentina slapped licensing requirements on imports of Chinese shoes and toys
— as well as those from Brazil.

For now, it doesn’t appear as though the
Brazil-China flap will affect the two nations’ alliance in the so-called G-20
of developing nations working together in World Trade Organization
talks. That group, which also includes India and South Africa, is looking to
force rich nations to open their agricultural markets.
"Brazil has a broader and more important
game at the G-20 that does not involve China only," says Gilberto Dupas,
foreign-policy specialist at the University of São Paulo. "The G-20 goes
beyond these perceived disappointments with China."
And taking a longer view, Brazil’s trade
relationship with China looks more favorable for the Latin nation. The eightfold
increase in exports to China during the past five years has been of vital
importance to Brazil as it stabilized its economy
and emerged from a near
meltdown in 2002. But now that Brazil’s currency has enjoyed a huge rebound
over the past two years, Brazilian industries are running into the same
problems competing with the undervalued yuan that many developed countries are
The dispute has produced a rift within
corporate Brazil
. Huge commodities exporters such as mining giant Companhia
Vale do Rio Doce
are interested in keeping the best possible relations
with China
, while industries that are either harmed by a flood of cheap
Chinese imports or have to compete against China in overseas markets have been
pushing for a hard line.

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