Politics 08-11-2018

"Strengthening the BRICS group will not be a priority for the president-elect of Brazil"

The strengthening of the BRICS group will not be among the priorities of the next president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, something that would be especially significant given that in January 2019 the South American country will assume the rotating presidency of the group, according to comments made to Sputnik two specialists.

For Regiane Bressan, professor of Economics and Business and International Relations, of the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), Bolsonaro and his team have already shown sufficient signs of a "possible distancing" with the countries of the BRICS group and in general with all the southern hemisphere and the developing economies.

The teacher recalled the words of Vice President-elect Antônio Hamilton Mourão, who during the election campaign said that in previous governments Brazil was wrong to "join the" mulambada ", a derogatory term with a racist connotation that used to refer to emerging countries .

Mourão did not cite any specific country, but a few days later, the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, took advantage of the congratulations to Bolsonaro in his victory in the first round to warn that Brazil would be wrong if it moves away from the BRICS.

The South African leader also acknowledged that his country "was closer" to Brazil in the years when he ruled the Workers' Party (PT) of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2011) and Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016).

Bolsonaro's right-hand man and the president-elect have expressed their willingness on many occasions to prioritize bilateral relations with markets such as the United States, to the detriment of multilateral bodies.

Bressan stressed that it is still early to draw conclusions about Bolsonaro's ideas about the joint action of the BRICS bloc, and he hoped that the diplomatic corps of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would "help" him to see what is interesting for Brazil, especially Taking into account that within a few months the country will host the summit with all the heads of state of the group.


For her part, Professor Cristina Martins dos Santos, specialist in regional integration at the Pontificia Universidad Católica (PUC) in Rio de Janeiro, agrees that it is likely that in the medium term the pragmatic vision will prevail over the most ideological comments.

"Some bilateral relations may be more privileged, but Bolsonaro will not be able to put China aside, it would be throwing stones against his own roof (...) I think it will be difficult for his environment of neoliberal economists not to be positioned, there will be an internal dispute between certain speeches to please your electorate and economic interests ", analyzed the specialist in statements to Sputnik.

In his opinion, the economic weight of Russia, and especially of China in the bloc is what could "save" the group and make it continue to be attractive in Bolsonaro's eyes, since the Asian country is Brazil's main trading partner.

According to data from the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services of Brazil, the country exported to China worth 47,488 million dollars, while imports from the Asian country were 27,321 million dollars.

Last year, the Brazil-China trade flow was 74,700 million, against 51,600 million of the Brazil-United States exchange.

Despite this, some words of the ultra-rightist politician generated some diplomatic friction.

Bolsonaro criticized on several occasions the excessiveness of Chinese investments, for example in the purchase of agricultural land, because in his opinion national and food sovereignty is put at risk.

In any case, the analysts consulted by Sputnik ruled out that Brazil would abruptly abandon the block or its participation in instruments that were created recently, after many years without concrete advances.

This is the case of the New Development Bank (NBD), which aims to finance infrastructure projects and sustainable development in emerging economies, and the Reserve Contingency, designed to provide mutual support among the members of the BRICS in scenarios of fluctuations in the balance. of payments.

The NBD opened its headquarters in the Chinese city of Shanghai in 2015, and three months ago, at the tenth summit of the BRICS, which took place in Johannesburg (South Africa), the current Brazilian president, Michel Temer, reached an agreement so that The regional headquarters of the bank in America, whose inauguration is scheduled for next year, will be installed in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.


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