Brazil, China sign several trade, business deals

July 17, 2014
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Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, right, attends a welcoming ceremony for China's President Xi Jinping before signing agreements at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Rousseff says the agreements show that ties between China and Brazil have never been stronger. In 2009, China pushed the U.S. aside to become Brazil’s biggest trading partner, and the deals signed today cover a wide spectrum of sectors, including aviation, railways, mining, education and construction. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping ended a state visit to Brazil on Thursday by signing a wide-ranging series of trade and business agreements with the leader of Latin America's biggest nation.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff hailed the agreements, including the sale of 60 Embraer passenger jets to China and talks on Chinese participation in a trans-South American railway. They demonstrate, she said, that ties between China and Brazil have never been stronger.

"These investments show the strong tendency toward the growth and diversification in sectors like energy, information technology, the auto industry, high tech, banks and petroleum, among other sectors, that consolidate China as the big partner for Brazilian development," she said during a joint statement with Xi.

The state visit by China's leader capped off a prominent week for Rousseff.

On Sunday, she handed over the World Cup trophy to the victorious German team, while claiming bragging rights for Brazil having successfully carried out a logistically complicated tournament. Rousseff also hosted a BRICS summit that resulted in the creation of the New Development Bank, a $100 billion institution meant to spur infrastructure in the BRICS nations.

The bank also serves as a direct rebuttal to U.S. and European-centric multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, long sharply criticized by the developing world for attaching interventionist strings to bailout loans to poorer nations.

Rousseff said she and Xi focused on Chinese participation in the completion of a railway from Brazil's northeastern Atlantic coast, across the Amazon to Peru's Pacific coast. Such a railway would help ease severe bottlenecks Brazil has in getting its commodities like soy and iron ore to market — principally to China, whose appetite for those raw goods remains strong.

China has been Brazil's largest trading partner since 2009, when it moved past the United States, and has invested heavily in the country.