Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a personal ally of U.S. President Donald Trump who is also eager to cultivate trade with China, said on Thursday his country will stay out of the U.S.-China trade war.
Bolsonaro said at the BRICS summit in Brasilia, where he met with Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, that Brazil “trades with the entire world.”
“I won’t enter into this trade war,” Bolsonaro said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also attended the summit and joined Xi in denouncing what they described as “protectionism” and “bullying” through the use of “unilateral sanctions.” Xi and Bolsonaro discussed the possibility of creating a free-trade relationship between Brazil and China.
Bolsonaro was highly critical of China when he ran for office last year, denouncing Beijing as nothing less than a predatory nation looking to “buy” and exploit countries like Brazil, but now he is attempting to repair his relationship with Beijing and pump some Chinese money into Brazil’s stalled economy. The powerful Brazilian beef, agriculture, and mining industries are particularly eager to develop trade with China.
China is expected to announce a $1 billion investment in Brazilian ports soon, although the exact details of the deal have been kept private. Chinese investment in Brazilian rail is also a possibility.