Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen shakes hands with Marcelo Maia, secretary of commerce and services at Brazil's Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, at the MOU signing ceremony in Shanghai on Tuesday. (CHINA NEWS SERVICE)
Action Plan to help Latin American nation build modern service sector
China and Brazil signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday to diversify service trade to upgrade their commerce structure from commodity and goods exchanges.
The MOU, or the Two-Year Action Plan, is designed to encourage the two countries to improve service trade in eight areas including engineering, architecture, e-commerce, banking automation and tourism, to enrich bilateral trade ties over the next two years.
"Signing this Two-Year Action Plan will help Brazil build a modern service sector, as well as create new e-commerce and financial activities to boost the economy," said Marcelo Maia, secretary of commerce and services at Brazil's Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade.
The plan is expected to provide experiences for BRICS countries to promote services trade cooperation.
Even though China-Brazil trade is heavily focused on commodity and goods trade including soybeans, beef, iron ore, construction machinery, chemicals, garments and vehicle products, service trade has not notably featured in bilateral trade.
Chinese companies invested $8.39 billion in Brazil last year, an increase of 13 percent year-on-year. Both countries have already begun to intensify their cooperation in infrastructure, energy and telecommunication business development, data from the Ministry of Commerce show.
"Supported by rich natural resources, Brazil has been keen to upgrade service trade and related sectors such as logistics, tourism, shipping, healthcare, education, finance and smart city development," said Wang Haifeng, a researcher with the Institute for International Economic Research at the National Development and Reform Commission.
The deal was sealed during the trade ministers' meeting from the five BRICS countries－Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in Shanghai on Tuesday and Wednesday, ahead of next month's leaders summit in Xiamen, Fujian province.
China is expected to further open its market to imports from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, and spearhead an anti-trade protectionism campaign. In the past six months, China's imports from these countries surged 33 percent year-on-year.
"We hope that BRICS countries can further expand their cooperation with economies related to the Belt and Road Initiative. This will help to better meet the challenges brought by the uncertainties of the global economy and generate new growth momentum," said Zhong Shan, China's commerce minister.
Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said while protectionists have doubts about multilateral trade, BRICS countries, as major developing economies, can tackle the skeptics as a united team and build a sufficient trade mechanism.
To strengthen trade links, Wang said China will host an international imports exhibition from 2018 in Shanghai and it will help with trade and stimulate investment.
"China will further open its market to other BRICS countries and increase imports, as they are highly complementary in trade," said Wang.
Trade ministers from the five countries will discuss topics including trade and investment facilitation, enhancing economic and technology cooperation, as well as supporting a multilateral trade system in Shanghai.