Lula-Xi Jinping Summit Produces Breakthroughs for the “Global South”

One measure of the achievements of the April 11-14 visit to China by Brazilian President Inácio Lula da Silva, including his summit meeting with Xi Jinping on April 14, is the flood of outraged commentaries about the trip in the West’s financial media. A petulant “news” article in the April 15 Financial Times is typical.

First, the London financial daily was furious about Lula’s statement that “We want to raise the level of the strategic partnership between our countries, expand trade flows and, together with China, balance world geopolitics.”

Second, the FT and others dread the prospect laid out by Brazil’s President at the April 13 investiture in Shanghai of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff as the new head of the BRICS New Development Bank. “For the first time,” he stated, “a development bank with global reach is established… free from the shackles of conditionalities imposed by traditional institutions on emerging economies. And more: with the possibility of financing projects in local currency… The creation of this Bank shows that the unity of emerging countries is capable of generating relevant social and economic changes for the world… Every night I ask myself why all countries have to base their trade on the dollar… Why can’t we do trade based on our own currencies?”

He further called it “intolerable” that “hundreds of millions of men, women, and children have nothing to eat”, when the planet produces enough food for all.

Then there was Lula’s decision to tour Huawei’s technological and innovation center in Shanghai, announcing the visit was “a demonstration that we want to say to the world that we don’t have any bias in our relationship with the Chinese, and that no one will prohibit Brazil from improving its relationship with China.”

Fourth, Lula insisted publicly that “The United States has to stop encouraging war and start talking about peace. The European Union needs to start talking about peace, so that we can convince Putin and Zelenskyy that peace is in the interests of the whole world.” Both China and Brazil have proposed initiatives for negotiations that the two Presidents discussed during their summit.

Where Washington and London pressure was apparently able to draw a line in the sand — at least for the moment — was on their diktat that Brazil not formally join the Belt and Road Initiative, which would open the door to long-sought South American great infrastructure projects. Brazilian officials announced that, for now, they are “studying” the matter of the BRI, and are open to considering it.

Otherwise, 15 bilateral commercial and partnership agreements were signed, altogether worth $10 billion, according to reports, while 20 new business deals were concluded between Brazilian and Chinese companies, in addition to the 20 others reached by Brazilian businessmen already in China in March, when Lula had to postpone his scheduled visit due to pneumonia.

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