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China, Brazil have huge trade potential: former ambassador

2009-05-19 14:03:04Source:XinhuaAuthor:

Former Chinese ambassador to Brazil, Chen Duqing, told Xinhua Monday that the two sides have huge potential to expand trade.

He made the comment as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva began his 3-day visit to Beijing Monday to enhance economic ties.

Bilateral trade rose 63.2 percent year on year to $48.98 billion in 2008, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs. 
 
Despite the sharp rise, the figure made up less than 3 percent of China's foreign trade in 2008, said Chen who left office in March.

Since both countries have abundant resources, there is big potential to increase bilateral trade, he added.

China surpassed the United States to become Brazil's biggest trading partner in April.

Chen said it reflected America's contracting foreign trade as it was hard-hit by the financial crisis. It also showed that closer trade relations between China and Brazil had become a reality.

For example, Brazil's exports to China, mainly iron ore and soybeans, increased.

Chen noted many Brazilian businessmen still knew little about the Chinese market. The two sides lacked understanding partly because of geographical distance and should seek more areas for collaboration.

"The two countries could further expand technology cooperation as the two had good collaboration on satellite launches," Chen said.

Agriculture is another important part of bilateral economic ties as the volume of farm produce between the two sides grew 83.4 percent to $9.06 billion in 2008, data released by the Ministry of Agriculture Monday showed.

In a faxed letter sent Monday, the ministry told Xinhua that while improving agricultural trade with Brazil, China hoped to enhance exchanges in bio-fuel development and animal husbandry technology.

The ministry promised to facilitate information exchanges and encourage mutual direct investment.

Brazil imported $268 million worth of farm produce from China, up 125.2 percent year on year. Imported goods were mainly soybeans, aquatic and livestock products.

China imported vegetable oil, cotton and fruit worth $8.79 billion from Brazil last year, an increase of 82.4 percent from a year ago.

On July 3, 2008, the Brazilian government issued a report analyzing areas that Brazil could increase exports to China.

Chen said it showed a positive attitude from Brazil to beef up trade with China.