Brazil’s Lula visits US-sanctioned Huawei site to boost ties with China

Shanghai, China, Apr 13 (EFE).- Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Thursday visited the research center of Huawei, the Chinese tech giant sanctioned by the United States over national security concerns.

Lula was in Shanghai to boost economic ties with China, Brazil’s largest trading partner since 2009.

“I visited Huawei’s technology development center,” Lula wrote on Twitter after he arrived in the economic hub.

“The company gave a presentation on 5G and solutions in telemedicine, education, and connectivity. A very strong investment in research and innovation,” Lula added.

Lula was accompanied by Liang Hua, the technology firm president, as he toured an exhibition on Huawei’s presence in Brazil.

“Huawei has been operating in Brazil for 25 years. The company is committed to working as a trusted long-term partner in the country and contributing to Brazil’s sustainable development, especially in terms of education, health and re-industrialization,” a Huawei spokesperson said in a statement shared with EFE.

Many have interpreted Lula’s visit to Huawei as a provocation that could irk the US, something Brazil’s foreign minister, Mauro Vieira, downplayed in a statement to Bloomberg.

“We want to have good and close relations with everyone, everywhere,” Vieira explained.

Lula is also expected to hold talks with Wang Chuanfu, chairman and founder of BYD, a Chinese manufacturing conglomerate.

The conglomerate has three factories in Brazil producing electric buses, solar panels, and lithium-iron-phosphate batteries.

Lula will also meet with Wang Tongzhou, president of the board of the state-owned China Communications Construction Company, a multinational construction and infrastructure company.

Earlier this week, the Brazilian president floated a plan to boost several infrastructure projects, including the developing highways and hydroelectric plants working with Beijing.

“We want the Chinese to make investments (and) generate new jobs and new productive assets in Brazil,” Lula said.

Lula also attended the investiture of his political ally Dilma Rousseff as the new head of the New Development Bank (NBD), an initiative of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – the so-called BRICS bloc.

Rousseff served as Lula’s successor in office between 2011 and 2016, after his first stint as president.

In a speech at the headquarters of the NBD, formerly the BRICS development bank, in Shanghai, Lula called Rousseff a “strong woman” and claimed the legacy they both left in their presidencies that helped save 36 million Brazilians from extreme poverty.

Lula said the NBD had all the conditions to become the great bank of the Global South, and stressed that Brazil was back on the international stage after being absent from it when the opposition was in power.

For her part, the new NBD president promised “innovative financing models,” capable of attracting public and private resources and financing the bank’s projects in local currencies, which will favor domestic markets and reduce exposure to exchange rate fluctuations.

The NBD, with a capital of $100 billion, was founded in 2014 – when Rousseff was Brazil’s president- and is focused on financing the infrastructure projects of its five members.

But it also supports other countries such as Bangladesh, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay, admitted as partners in 2021.

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