Event — Webinar

The Belt and Road Initiative and Brazil-China relations

An online interactive lecture by IIAS fellow Rafael Abrão in the context of the joint research programme 'Energy Programme Asia (EPA): The Political Economy of the Belt & Road Initiative and its Reflections'.

This lecture will take place from 11:00 - 12:00 a.m. Amsterdam Time (Central European Time, CET).

 

The last two decades have marked China’s rise as Brazil’s main economic partner in terms of trade, investment, and finance. However, Brazil is not joining the Belt and Road Initiative. What are the reasons that led Brazilian policymakers to not formally join China’s new international strategy?

While China and the US are competing for influence and dominance in a key battleground – Latin America – Brazil is certainly the most prominent actor in this dispute. Brazil is caught in a dilemma of whether reject the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) due to geopolitical concerns or to embark on the promises of economic growth that it might bring.

We discuss why Brazil and China have deepened relations in recent decades, but Brazilian policymakers have decided not to join the BRI. We explore this subject by examining: 

i) how relations between Brazil and China have evolved to a high-level relationship in the last two decades in terms of trade, investment, and finance; 
ii) the geopolitical and internal reasons for resistance in the Brazilian political and economic elite to sign a BRI agreement; and 
iii) by making a set of interviews with academia experts, policymakers, government officials and business people to understand the reasons behind this decision. Our main argument is that the current far-right government's alignment with US geopolitical interests has blocked BRI-related negotiations.

Our main argument is that the current far-right government's alignment with US geopolitical interests has blocked BRI-related negotiations.

This talk is organised in the context of the joint research programme 'Energy Programme Asia (EPA): The Political Economy of the Belt & Road Initiative and its Reflections', supervised by Prof. Mehdi Parvizi Amineh. This joint research programme is held by the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and the Institute of World Politics and Economy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (IWEP-CASS) in Beijing, China.

The speaker

Rafael Abrão is a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden University. He is a PhD candidate at the Federal University of ABC (UFABC). He holds a Master’s in Social Sciences from São Paulo State University (UNESP) and a Bachelor’s in International Relations from the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP). At IIAS, he is a member of the 'Energy Programme Asia (EPA): The Political Economy of the Belt & Road Initiative and its Reflections'. He also works as a researcher in Energy and Sustainable Development at the Consejo Latino-Americano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO) and in Brazil-China relations at the Observatório de Política Externa e da Inserção Internacional do Brasil (OPEB).