When President Lula met Xi Jinping in Beijing on April 14, accompanied by a large delegation of businessmen, politicians and even trade unionists, the Brazilian government celebrated the visit as the beginning of an era change in relations with China after the Bolsonaro era. . On this occasion, the presidents of the two countries signed 15 cooperation agreements. Apart from the general themes announced at the signing ceremony, such as the “Memorandum of Understanding on Promoting Investment and Industrial Cooperation” and the “Memorandum of Understanding on Expanding Investment Cooperation in the Digital Economy,” the details of these agreements were never revealed. . The tone remained general even regarding Brazil’s possible—and mooted—joining the so-called New Silk Road. At least in the version that was offered to the general public, it remained on the sidelines for fear that Brazil might upset Washington. “Brazil and China have expressed interest in deepening synergies between Brazil’s development policies and investment programs, including South American integration efforts, as well as China’s development policies and international initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative,” Lula and Xi said in a joint statement. statement.
However, eight months later, Brazil appears to have fully embraced the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as evidenced by a number of initiatives that have sparked controversy and public debate. The BRI, introduced in 2013, has so far been the main foreign policy strategy of Beijing, which uses its state-owned companies to finance infrastructure networks abroad solely based on its political and economic agenda. China’s goal is to achieve global leadership. In 2015, Xi complemented the Belt and Road Initiative with the Digital Silk Road (DSR), targeting infrastructure such as telecommunications, e-commerce and digital technology to show how China’s global conquest is truly moving 360 degrees . But the BRI project has drawn criticism around the world, with many countries rejecting it or abandoning it at the last minute, as happened recently with Italy. China, which, we recall, is run by a dictatorial regime, uses the BRI to expand its monopoly, create political dependency and use the resources of countries that have joined the program. The greatest danger is the threat to the so-called “golden power,” that is, the ability and will of a state to protect assets that it considers strategic to its national security, such as its electrical infrastructure.
That’s why the earthquake struck when, in mid-December, Chinese energy giant State Grid won the largest auction in Brazilian history for the country’s grid, with a total investment value of 21.7 billion reais, or 4.472 million reais. dollars. Thus, the main Chinese state-owned energy company, covering 88% of the Asian country’s territory, will build 1,468 kilometers of lines in 72 months, including an 800 kV DC ultra-high voltage line, in the northern states of Maranhão, Tocantins and Goiás. . Others complained and accused the National Electricity Agency (ANEEL) of favoritism towards State Grid, according to economic news website Brazil Journal. “Lot 1, the largest of the three for sale, was designed to win the Chinese,” an investor who follows the sector told Brazil Journal. “The bidding rules impose a certain type of technology, and the only suppliers of this technology in Brazil are Chinese companies.” This is a direct current system known as HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current). “But the system chosen by ANEEL was old HVDC technology, which is hardly used in new transmission projects and is used only by the Chinese,” the investor explained.
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