Petrodollars promise to oil the wheels of science cooperation with China, as Brazil finds an eager new customer for its offshore petroleum wealth, and the two nations press ahead with industrialization.
In Brasilia 17th June during the state visit of China’s premier Xi Jinping, Beijing’s Science and Technology Minister Wan Gang told his Brazilian counterpart Aldo Rebelo that China is shifting to an innovation-driven growth model.
This, he said, closely matches Brazil’s plan to improve its industrialization level. He added that the two sides should pool the resources for science and technology cooperation and exchange experience.
Gang and Rebelo signed a memorandum of understanding that encourages bilateral science cooperation between the two countries.
While both China and Brazil would like to enhance science and technology cooperation to facilitate economic transformation and improve people’s livelihoods, just how this could be done is less clear. The language and culture of Brazilian science point it firmly toward the US and Europe.
Brazil’s science minister Rebelo said the dialogue is held at a time when new science and technology revolution is accelerating and transforming many industries.
In fact, Brazil gives priority to developing science and technology cooperation with China and is willing to further enhance the interaction with the Asian country in other fields – meaning oil exploration and energy-related technologies.
Around 100 representatives from governments, science and research institutions as well as experts and entrepreneurs from both countries attended the dialogue and held discussions on new energy, agricultural technology and food security, biotechnology and information technology
In addition to Brazil’s Science minister, Mauro Borges of Brasilia’s Foreign Trade, Industry and Development Ministry also took part in the talks. Senior representatives of China’s National Development Bank and, the Export-Import Bank of China and the China Investment Corporation were all on hand. In all, 54 separate agreements were signed by Brazilian and Chinese officials.
In practice, cooperation has led to the abrupt growth of oil trade between China and Brazil. Chinese sources say China is currently the largest export market for Brazil’s petroleum sector, with sales of over 5.4 million tons of oil.
But in the field of science cooperation, can such accords move beyond the paper they’re written on to deliver meaningful achievements?
Brazil’s science cooperation with China is still in its infancy. In early 2014 the São Paulo Research Foundation FAPESP led a delegation of scientists to Beijing for a joint symposium. It was held at Peking University (also known as Běidà). You can read details by clicking here.
Working examples of Brazil-China collaboration include the CBERS [China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite] Program, which is already providing useful data to African nations.