Rethinking Brazil-China relations

Image: Jiawei Cui


China's international insertion and its growing influence over Latin American and African economies have repercussions on Brazilian economic and diplomatic dynamics

The foreign policy of the Lula III government

Building, structuring and implementing a fruitful foreign policy is a complex and costly task. As a result of countless disputes between domestic forces, each international action taken by a government has direct and indirect consequences on the domestic environment of a given country and on the international environment, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the capabilities national (hard power e Soft Power).

Between mistakes and successes, applauded speeches and criticized speeches, we observed, in this third term of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2023-present), the development of a foreign policy along the lines of that applied in his previous governments (2003-2010), in more complex and challenging domestic and external environments.

To say that the foreign policy of the third Lula government, which is still being developed today, follows (or at least tends to follow) the mold of the foreign policy adopted in his first two presidential terms means arguing that it is structured around the following axes: (i) by attempting to strengthen relations with countries in the so-called Global South, giving South-South relationships central importance for the international objectives pursued by the current government and for Brazilian national interests.

(ii) By seeking to maintain good relationships with countries in the Global North, despite the importance given to the relationship with the United States led by Joe Biden and the European Union (North-South relations take on another character in this government, as that the defense of democratic institutions becomes fundamental for the government, especially after the episodes of January 8, 2023); (iii) by seeking to strengthen Brazil's position in the International System and bring prestige to Brazil's image vis-à-vis different international actors, in particular through action on issues relating to the reduction of social inequalities, the protection of the environment and the search for peace.

(iv) For the attempt to strengthen multilateralism and the Brazilian position in different international organizations and (v) for the centrality given to regional integration. In addition to these axes, we can observe the use of important foreign policy instruments by the government, of which presidential diplomacy stands out. These axes characterize what we could consider the bases of Lulista foreign policy (or PT in broader terms), having direct reflections on Brazilian foreign policy today.

The fact to be highlighted, and whose debate must be carried out seriously, rests on the domestic and international effects of the foreign policy followed by the third Lula government on (1) the Brazilian position in the International System, (2) the Brazilian economy and (3 ) Brazilian society.

As is easily observed, the external scenario and the domestic scenario faced by the Lula III government are qualitatively different from the scenarios faced by the president during his first two terms. At an international level, we observe the existence of growing tensions and competitive disputes between China and the United States, two of the powers with the greatest economic and military capabilities in the world; the existence of different conflicts with global repercussions: between Ukraine and the Russian Federation and between Israel and Palestine; and the coexistence of far-right governments around the world, and in particular in Latin America, with weak left-wing governments, as is the case of Gabriel Boric's government in Chile.

At a domestic level, at the same time that we observe distinct and powerful groups and economic sectors that oppose the foreign policy employed by the Lula government in contemporary times (and the government itself, ultimately), there remains an enormous sensitivity regarding the actions employed at an international level by the Brazilian government, so that many of them imply great political costs for the president and his support bases (just remember the adverse reactions received on the occasion of Nicolás Maduro's visit to Brazil, in the first half of 2023 ). Furthermore, there is the idea that Lula seeks (or at least sought during the first year of his term) to restructure Brazilian relations with different actors in the International System, affected by the ideological conduct of the foreign policy of Jair Bolsonaro's government (2019 -2023).

Taking into account the perspective that the Lula III government conducts Brazil's international actions following the axes of foreign policy adopted throughout its first two terms (whether due to personal/partisan beliefs about Brazil's role and image, whether because these experiences have been previously successful) in a more challenging domestic environment and in a different international environment, it is necessary to analyze and discuss the effects of this international conduct for Brazil.

The argument defended in this text is that the actions promoted by the foreign policy of the third Lula government generate contradictory effects on the Brazilian economy, and that they often negatively affect the programs outlined by the executive itself for Brazil, especially the development objectives economic and improving the quality of life of the Brazilian population.

Thus, in this text, we will address two points that are central, in our understanding, to analyze the inconsistencies in the foreign policy of the new Lula government: (a) the contradiction between the idea of ​​development expressed by President Lula through his “neoindustrialization” program ” national and the rapprochement with China, a country in the “Global South”,[I] that develops asymmetrical relations with Brazil and harms its industrial development and (b) the lack of differentiation between Brazil's South-South relations with African and Latin American countries and Brazil's “South-South” relations with China (and other powers such as Russia), in which the latter's valuation leads to a decrease in Brazilian protagonism in the International System and loss of capacity in the face of regional integration.

The development sought and the difficulties arising from strengthening relations with China

The process of China's development and international insertion in the global economy has undoubtedly generated a series of challenges for the introduction of economic development/industrialization projects in peripheral economies and greater challenges for their maintenance and advancements. In reality, Chinese insertion affected many industries in peripheral countries, leading to deindustrialization processes and job losses in many regions; Brazil, the largest industrial economy in Latin America, is one of the countries affected by the growing Chinese insertion in the global and national economy. Understanding how China's rise changed global economic and political dynamics is fundamental to understanding the tortuous scenarios faced by Brazil in the short, medium and long term.

The process of Chinese development began in 1949, after the takeover of the State by the Chinese Communist Party (PPCh). Initially commanded by Mao Tse-Tung, central planning was established in the country's economy. Through the policies dictated by the CCP, during the Maoist period (1949-1976), the Chinese economy presented great industrialization and infrastructural development that would be fundamental to the economic success observed after the capitalist reformist introduction of Deng Xiaoping in 1978. Such reforms were responsible for introducing market mechanisms within the Chinese economy and liberalizing it, in order to configure a recapitalization of China.

With these reforms, the country is increasingly included in the global economy, benefiting directly from the systemic transformations that have occurred within the capitalist system since the mid-1970s, of which we can highlight: productive restructuring (with the relocation and deverticalization of production); commercial and financial liberalization, fundamental to the growing financialization of capitalism, and the adoption of neoliberal economic policies, which followed the Washington Consensus, in several countries.

In short, China benefits from these processes for a series of reasons: (i) the industrial structures and productive activity of large transnational companies start to be directed towards Asian countries, concentrating, to a large extent, on China (especially after the Plaza Agreement in 1985), so that these countries are increasingly included in global value chains; (ii) a large part of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) are now concentrated in China (also due to the concentration of global industrial and manufacturing activities); (iii) with the growing production relocation and increasing trade liberalizations, the external demand for manufactured goods and industrial goods produced in China in the main global economies, especially in the United States, creates stimuli for China's industrial development, largely structured to meet foreign demands via exports (that is, exogenous stimuli were fundamental to Chinese economic development and industrialization).

In reality, the connections developed between China and the world's advanced economies, especially with the United States, created economic dynamics that were decisive for the expansion of both national economies and the global economy until the financial crisis of 2008. This dynamic is explained, accurately, by Li and Bernal-Meza (2021, p. 9): (a) China produces low-cost goods and exports them to the United States; (b) China receives dollars as payments for its exports; (c) China becomes the largest holder of US dollars and US debt securities; (d) China's purchase of US debt securities subsidizes US consumption and (e) stimulated consumption in the US increases China's exports, which, in turn, stimulates Chinese production and development. This economic dynamic remained until the 2008 crisis, when it was broken by the decrease in global consumption, resulting from the recessive effects of the global crisis. In any case, it enabled China to become the “factory of the world”, constituting itself as an articulating axis of production at a global level.

Since the crisis, important changes have been observed in China's economic dynamics and international insertion. In its domestic environment, expansionist policies are being applied (aimed at stimulating consumption and investment in order to face the drop in external demand, especially from the United States and other central countries); Initially adopted in the period 2009-2010, such policies were prolonged throughout the second decade of the XNUMXst century (even with the existence of CCP plans to reduce the dependence on investments on the country's economic dynamism).

Externally, a more active and aggressive international insertion is observed, where China is seeking both new markets for its industrial and manufactured products (especially in peripheral countries) and exporting its surplus capital (these two phenomena are interrelated, seen for example the case of Belt and Road Initiative). The important thing to be highlighted is: these new dynamics deepen the difficulties for the socioeconomic development and industrialization of peripheral countries. Although we understand that it is not possible to attribute all the difficulties to the Chinese economy (given the structural transformations suffered by the world capitalist economy and neoliberal impositions), it is necessary to attribute responsibility to China's economic dynamics for generating new barriers to industrialization and the development of peripheral countries. , increasing these difficulties.

In essence, as discussed by several authors (Sugimoto; Diegues, 2022; Hiratuka, Sarti, 2017; Ho-Fung, 2017), the same systemic transformations that ensured/stimulated China's economic development imposed a series of difficulties for the continuity of the development of peripheral countries, especially Latin American and African ones, to which FDI flows decreased considerably after the 1980s. Added to such transformations, the rise of China as the world's factory was responsible for stimulating the primary- exporters from peripheral countries, given the demand for commodities and industrial inputs from the Asian power, and for affecting, directly and indirectly, the industrial and manufacturing sectors of peripheral countries, given the enormous competitiveness of Chinese products (Ho-Fung, 2017; Sugimoto; Diegues, 2022; Hiratuka, Sarti, 2017) , creating strong incentives for productive specialization in peripheral countries.

For Brazil, systemic transformations and the adoption of neoliberal macroeconomic policies were responsible for leading the national economy to deindustrialization (combated partially and circumstantially by the PT neodevelopmentalist program) and the regressive specialization of the export agenda. Both of these phenomena were/are deepened by Sino-Brazilian economic and financial relations (Haffner; Barbosa, 2020; Sugimoto; Diegues, 2022; Hiratuka; Sarti, 2017).

We argue that the growing Chinese economic insertion in the Brazilian economy has negative effects on national economic development, many of which are ignored by analysts, politicians and researchers, under the false cover of “South-South Cooperation”. It is worth mentioning that the Chinese insertion in the world economy has other negative effects for Brazil, both on an economic and political level (although this distinction does not exist in reality): by becoming fundamental to the economy of many peripheral countries, especially Latin America and Africans, Chinese insertion in the world economy removes foreign markets from Brazil to export its products (especially industrial and manufactured products that face Chinese competition) and gradually dynamizes Brazilian relations with other peripheral countries, since many of them have strong primary sectors -exporters, which compete with Brazilian primary products.

Due to this, Brazil's international insertion capabilities are gradually weakened, given the loss of economic relevance in the face of several actors, especially Latin Americans and Africans, fundamental for the South-South cooperation sought by Lulista governments (it is little It is plausible to deny that the economy plays a fundamental role in the formation and development of political-diplomatic relations, even though in the discipline of International Relations and in the field of foreign policy analysis economic dynamics are marginalized from the analyzes carried out).

Another argument can be used to defend Brazil's loss of national capabilities arising from Sino-Brazilian relations: while China encourages deindustrialization and regressive specialization of Brazil's export agenda, the latter has its potential power, in terms of Mearsheimer (2007) , directly affected, reducing their capabilities national and its capacity for insertion and international projection.

That said, it is necessary to ask ourselves: do Sino-Brazilian relations, characterized as “South-South” relations, negatively affect the development plans pursued by the Lula III government? We argue yes.

If foreign policy constitutes itself as an instrument for promoting economic development for Brazil, and if this development is sought, to a large extent, from the “neo-industrialization” program by the Lula III government, we understand that asymmetric/unequal relations Sino-Brazilians are harmful to such objectives (unless economic development is confused with economic growth, which is not the case with the current government's program). In their text “Neoindustrialization for the Brazil we want”, released on May 23, 2023, Lula da Silva and Geraldo Alckmin argue, among several points, that:

“The export of raw materials is important, but, despite the growing associated technological content, it is more vulnerable to international price cycles. A knowledge-based economy depends on recovering our industrial sector, also benefiting our sovereignty in sectors such as health, communications, defense and energy. However, we are losing the race of productive sophistication.” (Da Silva; Alckmin, 2023, online)

“We need to revive trade within our continent and with the Atlantic Coast of Africa, regions where in the recent past we exported more industrialized products; and explore niches opened up by the growth in Asia of countries such as India, Indonesia and Vietnam, as well as in a China that today not only exports a lot, but stimulates a flourishing domestic market with ever-increasing purchasing power – a possible destination for our cosmetics and food.” (Da Silva; Alckmin, 2023, online)

“The strength of our agribusiness, in turn, allows us to create a supply chain that reduces our external dependence on the National Fertilizer Plan, stimulate agroindustry and finance exports of agricultural machinery and new technologies that are emerging in Brazil to serve the field". (Da Silva; Alckmin, 2023, online)

These aspects explained by Lula and Alckmin (2023) are fundamental for discussing the contradictions that exist between the so-called development sought and the foreign policy applied by the Lula III government. If it is true that China's economic and financial relations with Brazil encourage deindustrialization and the regressive reprimarization of the export agenda, as several authors argue (Haffner; Barbosa, 2020; Sugimoto; Diegues, 2022; Hiratuka; Sarti, 2017), the The objectives pursued by the “neoindustrialization” program encounter strong barriers in the economic relations established with China and in the growing Chinese insertion in the Brazilian economy and the international economy.

This happens for a number of reasons: (1) due to Chinese demand, there is a tendency in Brazil to export increasing volumes of raw materials without any processing. Furthermore, this demand means that agribusiness and national extractive sectors tend to specialize in the production of a few products, generally those most demanded by the Asian power (such as soybeans, oil and iron ore, dominant in Brazilian exports to China), and not to diversify its productions. This, on the one hand, leads to a reprimarization of the country's export basket (concentrated on very few products, which increases external vulnerability even further).

On the other hand, together with the enormous competitiveness of Chinese products and the growing Chinese insertion in the national economy, it transforms the country into a growing importer of capital goods and industrial inputs (with China being one of the main exporters of these products to Brazil) . These two factors (reprimarization of the export agenda and leakage of demand towards China) discourage other national productive sectors, previously focused on meeting the demands of the country's primary sectors (as is the case with producers of agricultural machinery, for example) and other countries in the Global South (whose demands are also increasingly met by Chinese production), a fact that strengthens Brazil's primary export role, to the detriment of the manufacturing and industrial sectors.

(2) The commercial policy of stimulating exports, especially industrial ones, to countries in the Global South, that is, Latin Americans and Africans, encounter enormous barriers in the competitiveness of Chinese industrial and manufactured products, which have conquered foreign markets in which products Brazilians showed dominance; (3) the leakage of domestic demand for goods and services to Chinese imports tends to discourage investments at the domestic level (increasing problems observed in the national economy), a fact that should increase with the growth of unequal Sino-Brazilian economic relations (considering If China has been Brazil's main trading partner since 2009, the level of disincentives to investment in national industries arising from Sino-Brazilian relations cannot be ignored).

(4) At the same time as we seek to develop an economy based on knowledge (that is, on the development and application of new cutting-edge technologies), the process of early deindustrialization suffered by the Brazilian economy, enhanced by asymmetric economic relations with China, it increases the difficulties and costs of carrying out any desired transition (you cannot reach the peak of development without having a solid structural base, as far as possible for a peripheral country – this is what the Chinese experience teaches us, ultimately) .

(5) Chinese FDIs aimed at production in Brazil are low (in relation to the total volume of these investments) and their potential is lower than what tends to be preached (the majority of investments tend to be applied to mergers and acquisitions in order to enter the national and regional market, which lead to a denationalization of the Brazilian economy, while a smaller portion tends to be applied in the form of investments greenfield).

What does that mean? That the deepening of Sino-Brazilian relations, influenced by conceptions about “South-South Cooperation”, has negative effects on the national economy, which go against the development/industrialization program defended by the Lula III government. What is observed is the conduct of a foreign policy that fails to ensure the country's economic development, in the short, medium and long term.

That said, it is necessary to answer: do Sino-Brazilian relations have other negative effects on Brazil's insertion in the world economy/in the International System? We argue yes. Furthermore, we understand that instead of greater autonomy for Brazil, what is observed is a growing subordination of the country in relation to Chinese political-economic dynamics.

South-South relations against the perverse effects of “South-South” relations

Among the South-South relations sought by PT governments, relations with Latin America, in general, and with the Southern Cone countries, in particular, have always been understood as priority/preferential (Pecequilo; Carmo, 2017). Both at a bilateral and multilateral level, such relations were fundamental to the economic and political-diplomatic plans of the PT governments, that is, both Lula and Dilma, since: (i) the markets of these countries were/are important sources of demands for Brazilian industrial and manufactured products, presenting trade relations with Brazil that are qualitatively different from those developed by the country in North-South relations (in which Brazil exports primary products and imports manufactured and industrial goods, such as Sino-Brazilian trade, for example).

(ii) maintaining good relationships with regional actors ensures Brazil's political-diplomatic leadership position in the region and enables greater international projection for the country, which now has more support in its initiatives and demands made in relation to other actors international relations and (iii) regional integration, especially through Mercosur, has always been understood as a fundamental instrument in promoting Brazilian development, and its progress seen as beneficial and desirable for the development of several industrial and manufacturing sectors in Brazil. In the same sense, he observed a search to develop relations with African countries, which were fundamental as a source of demand for Brazilian industrial and manufactured products and important for capital exports and expansion/diversification of large companies/national champions. Furthermore, Brazil's political-diplomatic approach to Africa ensured greater capabilities and bargaining power for Brazil in the international arena.

Although Brazilian connections with the “Global South” are broad and heterogeneous, it is important to highlight that the relations developed between Brazil and powers such as China and the Russian Federation are qualitatively different from the relations developed between Brazil and Latin American countries and between Brazil and African countries. The differences between the first and the two subsequent ones are large: in economic terms, Brazil, in general, exports commodities to these powers and imports industrial and manufactured goods from China and Russia, a fact that reproduces classic center-periphery dynamics of Brazilian relations. with other global powers, while Brazil's economic dynamics with Latin America and Africa tend to be distinct, as we highlighted.

In political terms, Brazil's negotiating capabilities vis-à-vis China, in particular, tend to be much smaller than assumed by current literature (especially by defenders of this relationship). The lack of Brazilian capacity in the face of Chinese interests was observed at various times, as clearly explained by Pecequilo and Carmo (2017), especially during the Dilma governments.

It is a serious theoretical problem that several authors disregard the importance and influence of one economy over another as important elements of power and influence in the International System. Thus, it is worth pointing out that the growing connections between China and Brazil, despite the growing importance of Chinese economic dynamics on the Brazilian economy, constitute limitations on Brazil's bargaining power vis-à-vis China and limits the possibilities for action. of Brazil on the international scene (it would also not be incorrect to state that such connections have repercussions on the existing power bloc in Brazil, having direct and indirect influences on the political dynamics existing at the domestic level – even without direct interference from China).

Thus, we highlight the importance of discussing whether the foreign policy followed by the third Lula government (especially given the changes suffered within the world economy), when seeking to strengthen “South-South” relations with China (which are identical to the North-South/ Center-periphery), whether or not it elevates Brazil's subordination to the Asian power, given that in the economic sphere there is a growing influence of the Chinese economy over the Brazilian economy.

In any case, in this section we seek to defend two points: (a) that the strengthening of “South-South” relations has detrimental effects on the Brazilian economy and Brazil's position in the International System and (b) that the strengthening of Sino-Brazilian relations affect Brazil's true South-South relations, that is, with Latin American and African partners.

Firstly, the Lula III government, when seeking the socioeconomic development/reindustrialization/neoindustrialization of Brazil, finds distinct stimuli in the South-South relations developed between Brazil and Latin American and African countries, especially within the Mercosur bloc, while in the relations of “South-South” character with China encounters several disincentives, as discussed (Sino-Brazilian relations encourage the reprimarization of the national export agenda and intensify deindustrialization in the Brazilian economy).

In South-South relations (with Latin American and African countries), the stimuli come from the characteristics of the economic relations developed between Brazil and its trading partners: there is a dynamic in which Brazil exports diversified products, the vast majority of which are goods industrial and manufactured goods, and also imports diversified products, most of which complement national production, with importance being given to raw materials and industrial inputs.

In “South-South” relations with China, the disincentives arise from the characteristics of the commercial relations existing between the power and Brazil: China exports cheap manufactured goods and industrial goods, which compete with Brazilian products and affect national industries due to their large competitiveness, and imports large volumes of raw materials concentrated in a few products (crude oil, soybeans and iron ore) from Brazil, stimulating the production and flow of primary goods without any processing.

It would be expected, therefore, that an economic policy that aimed to ensure the country's reindustrialization or “neoindustrialization” would be carried out in a way that privileged South-South relations, at the same time as being more selective in relation to “South-South” relations. South”, but this does not happen. On the contrary, there is a growing Brazilian insertion in Sinocentric political-economic orbits, with few real gains for the Brazilian population in general (although, clearly, there are several groups that benefit from this approach, such as the agribusiness and mining).

This leads us to the second point, that is, that Sino-Brazilian relations affect Brazil's true South-South relations, that is, relations with African and Latin American countries. This occurs directly as a consequence of Sino-Brazilian relations and indirectly as a consequence of China's insertion in these two regions.

In short, we understand that China's international insertion and its growing influence over the Latin American and African economies have repercussions on Brazilian economic and diplomatic dynamics for a series of reasons: (1) it boosts the demand for industrial and manufactured goods Brazilians in countries in these regions, imposing increasing difficulties on the flow of national industrial production, whose products are, in general, less competitive than Chinese ones; (2) by decreasing Brazil's economic importance for such economies, Brazilian power and influence in relation to such countries also decreases, with important consequences for bilateral relations and regional integration; (3) affects the interests of Latin American countries in regional integration, as can be seen in Uruguay's quest to establish and develop a free trade partnership with China (which is in the Chinese interest), with important consequences for political external and for Brazilian economic development in the medium and long term and (4) by weakening Brazil's ties with such countries, it weakens Brazil's ability to project itself internationally.

On the other hand, it is essential to understand that Sino-Brazilian relations, in addition to enhancing deindustrialization and the regressive specialization of the national export agenda, have repercussions on Brazil's domestic political-economic dynamics and on Brazil's position in the International System. The central consequences to be considered are: (1st) their impacts on the power of different fractions of the bourgeois class, since such relationships dynamit the powers of fractions of the industrial bourgeoisie and enhance the powers of fractions linked to agribusiness and national extractive sectors, including the financial bourgeoisie (so that certain fractions of agribusiness have better demand positions/greater bargaining power in domestic politics, a fact that can translate into new difficulties in implementing developmental projects and greater demands for liberalization).

(2nd) Deindustrialization affects power assets (hard power) of Brazil and reduces its international insertion capacity; 3rd) the growing influence of China means that, gradually, economic relations with the country and with the other BRICS countries have increasing importance on the Brazilian economy, which together with the transformations undergone in the correlation of forces at the domestic level, can lead the country to privilege political-economic relations with China to the detriment of relations with its traditional Latin American and African commercial/diplomatic partners (so that Brazil becomes, increasingly, subordinated to Chinese economic dynamics and vulnerable to movements in China in the International System).

Therefore, it seems clear to us that there is a need to apply a foreign policy that privileges Brazil's relations with countries from the true Global South, that is, with Latin American and African countries, and to resume regional integration as an instrument for promoting neo-industrialization. To this end, it is essential to review Sino-Brazilian “South-South” relations, given that China's growing insertion into the Brazilian economy, Latin America and Africa has perverse effects, direct and indirect, on economic, political and diplomatic capabilities. and on the domestic political dynamics present in Brazil.

Final considerations

Specialized literature recognizes, or at least assumes, that Brazilian foreign policy constitutes an instrument for promoting economic development and national autonomy, even if this is defined based on disputes and correlations of forces existing between domestic groups.

During the first two Lula governments (2003-2010), foreign policy was characterized by an active search to promote Brazil's insertion in the International System through the diversification of partnerships and the strengthening/development of relations with various international actors, both in bilateral and multilateral levels. The search to strengthen such relations was carried out in order to privilege relations with actors from the Global South. In the current Lula government, there is an attempt to restructure Brazilian foreign policy following the same axes of the foreign policies of its previous governments, but in very different domestic and external environments. At the same time, there is an attempt to implement a reindustrialization program, or ensure the “neoindustrialization” of the national economy, which is going through serious problems such as deindustrialization and the reprimarization of its export agenda.

As we seek to argue, there is a huge contradiction between the foreign policy applied and the development sought by the Lula III government, since in the external sphere relations with China are privileged, whose effects on the national economy are harmful. The strengthening of Sino-Brazilian economic relations has the effect of intensifying the negative processes suffered by the national economy, namely deindustrialization and the reprimarization of the export agenda.

Despite the problems, Sino-Brazilian relations are intensifying, to a certain extent, as China is attributed the character of a country from the “Global South”, even though the “South-South” relations developed between Brazil and China are similar to relations North-South/Center-Periphery and qualitatively different from the South-South relations established between Brazil and Latin American countries and between Brazil and African countries.

We express here the need to adopt positions congruent with the objectives of socioeconomic development and reindustrialization sought, especially through strengthening true South-South relations, and greater caution in establishing relations with the Asian power. Thus, we point out elements to rethink China's position as the “Global South” and the unequal Sino-Brazilian relations.

In other words: instead of becoming increasingly subordinate to China, it is essential that we plan and develop an active foreign policy in order to insert Brazil, once again, in key regions for the country's diplomatic and economic plans, such as Latin America and Africa, whose relations promote and stimulate important national economic sectors (which languish with Chinese competition) and ensure political-diplomatic conditions for a more powerful and sustainable international insertion for Brazil.

*Danilo Augusto da Silva Horta is studying for a master's degree in Political Science at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp).


DA SILVA, Luiz Inácio Lula; ALCKMIN, Geraldo. Neoindustrialization for the Brazil we want. Planalto, June 23, 2023. Available at:>.

HAFFNER, Jacqueline A; BARBOSA, Marcel Jaroski. Structural changes in the Brazilian economy: The China factor as a driver of national deindustrialization. Brazilian Journal of Public and International Policies, João Pessoa, v. 5, no. 3, p. 134-156, Dec. 2020. Available at:>.

HIRATUKA, Célio; SARTI, Fernando. Transformations in the global productive structure, deindustrialization and industrial development in Brazil. Political Economy Magazine, São Paulo, v. 37, no. 1, p. 189-207, Jan/Mar 2017. Available at:>.

HO-FUNG, Hung. The rise of China, Asia and the Global South. Revista de Economia Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, v. 22, n.1, p. 1-26, Jan/April 2018. Available at:>.

LI, Xing; BERNAL-MEZA, Raúl. China-US rivalry: a new Cold War or capitalism's intra-core competition?. Brazilian Journal of International Politics, Brasília, v. 64, no. 1, p. e010, 2021. Available at:>.

MEARSHEIMER, John J. The tragedy of great powers. 1st ed. Lisbon: Editora Gradiva, 2007.

PECEQUILO, Cristina Soreanu; CARMO, Corival Alves do. Brazilian foreign policy during the Lula and Dilma governments (2003/2014): South America. Perspective: Journal of Social Sciences, São Paulo, v. 50, p. 13-45, Jul/Dec, 2017. Available at:>.

SUGIMOTO, Thiago Noronha. DIEGUES, Antônio Carlos. China and Brazilian deindustrialization: a look beyond regressive specialization. Nova Economia Magazine, Belo Horizonte, vol. 32, n.2, p. 477–504, jun. 2022. Available at:>.


[I] We will use the expression “Global South” in quotation marks to point out relationships with a different character from other South-South relationships and which are close to, not to say similar to/similar to, North-South/Center-Periphery relationships.

the earth is round there is thanks to our readers and supporters.
Help us keep this idea going.

See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis
  • Letter to the presidentSquid 59mk,g 18/06/2024 By FRANCISCO ALVES, JOÃO DOS REIS SILVA JÚNIOR & VALDEMAR SGUISSARDI: “We completely agree with Your Excellency. when he states and reaffirms that 'Education is an investment, not an expense'”
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • The strike at federal Universities and Institutescorridor glazing 01/06/2024 By ROBERTO LEHER: The government disconnects from its effective social base by removing those who fought against Jair Bolsonaro from the political table