Brazil and China: A Young Marriage on the Rocks

Brazil’s new president, Dilma Rousseff, is taking her country’s relationship with China in a new direction, Reuters reports:

Only a few months ago, and China seemed destined to enjoy one of the defining alliances of the early 21st century — two fast-growing emerging market economies seeking ever-greater opportunities for business together and standing side by side on key global issues such as trade negotiations.

It’s not quite working out that way.

Rousseff’s regular meetings are just one sign of how she is steering Brazil toward a more confrontational stance with China. She is trying to address what she sees as an increasingly lopsided relationship while also bringing Brazil’s strategic alliances in line with her dream of turning it into a middle-class country by the end of the decade.

The core problem is a torrent of Chinese imports that has quintupled in size since 2005, with disastrous effects for Brazilian manufacturers and the well-paying, highly skilled jobs that Rousseff is so focused on creating.

While the weekly session of ministers and finance ministry officials is ostensibly about how to improve Brazil’s competitiveness in global trade, “it’s basically a China meeting,” said one high-level official who takes part.

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