ISSN 2674-8053

We and the Chinese

I rescued this interview from Banco Modal partner, Eduardo Centola, published in Estadão do dia 31/07, because it reveals important aspects of our current economic-trade relationship with China.

Among other issues, draws attention: 1) that Chinese investments in Brazil have not cooled down in the face of the economic and political setbacks we are going through; 2) that it's not just our agribusiness that matters to them, contrary to the superficial perception that we would be, mainly, one of the granaries that would feed the population, freeing the industrial sector to concentrate on the cutting edge technology areas set out in the plan “China 2025”, that the Beijing government has just edited in the quest to transform the country into a post-industrial power; e 3) that investments in Brazil are increasingly concentrated in the area of ​​infrastructure.

According to Centola, the Chinese plan to shell out more than $ 20 billions in the purchase of Brazilian assets, a volume 68% higher than 2016 (!!!), according to “Brazil-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry”. This movement has been so significant that we have become, last year, the second leading destination for Chinese infrastructure investments worldwide, behind only the United States.

It is the case, for example, gives “Shanghai Electric Group Co. Ltd”, one of the largest state-owned companies in the electrical equipment sector of the PRC, studying to participate in Eletrosul's transmission projects; gives “StatePower Investment Corporation”/SPIC, also among the five largest Chinese state-owned companies in the electricity sector, that is in dispute for the purchase of the Santo Antônio Hydroelectric, on the Madeira River, in Rondônia; and yes “China Communications Construction Co., Ltd.” ( (CCCC), specialized in port engineering, that has several Brazilian assets in its sights, in the field of construction companies and railways.

This intense movement of the Chinese – that is not restricted to Brazil, obviously – reveals the commitment of President Xi Jinping's government to transform China into the world's largest economy this century, as Professor Liu Mingfu proposed, gives “China National Defense University”, in your book “The China Dream”, that Xi adopted as “motorcycle” of your government. According to Prof. Liu:

“…what does it mean for China to become the world´s leading nation?
First, it means that China´s economy will lead the world. On that basis, it
will make China the strongest country in the world. As China rises to the
status of a great power in the 21st century, its aim is nothing less than the
top – to be the leader of the modern global economy” …

It will be?….What would be the consequences?

To become Xi's dream a – complex – reality (what many analysts doubt, due to the bottlenecks that China faces on its way to real sustainable development), the axis of the world economy would definitely transfer to the Pacific basin.

In this scenario, how would we be? We should be alert and “to monitor” chinese appetite, The “yellow danger”, how some radicals would qualify it? Still tied to the Atlantic, but increasingly courted by Beijing, we should be better positioned in relation to our alliances? Cohabitation with the two axes will be possible, Atlantic and Pacific?


Eduardo Centola, partner of Banco Modal, sees Chinese investors moving forward in sectors like telecommunications and healthcare

31.07.2017|By Estadão Content

One of the main Brazilian interlocutors with Chinese investors, Eduardo Centola, sees the increase in Chinese appetite in Brazil not only in infrastructure, but in other sectors considered strategic, like telecommunications and health. Centola says investments announced by Asian groups may reach up to R $ 50 billion this year.

The turmoil in Brasilia is not driving the Chinese out of the country?
Chinese appetite has been increasing in recent years and should not stop. In 2014, announced investments were R $ 6,5 billion and jumped to R $ 30 billion the following year. In 2016, was R $ 40 billion. My estimate is R $ 50 billion for this year.

Infrastructure is still the main destination for Chinese investors in Brazil?
The Chinese have already made a lot of investment in the electricity sector. Today, I see a diversification, as in financial operations, telecommunications and health. The Chinese government's guidelines have changed. There was a concern with food security and a large part of the investments went in this direction. Now, they want to internationalize in different sectors.

O Banco Modal tem feito assessoria a importantes grupos chineses. Como começou essa relação?
In 2012, quando entrei no Modal, eu já tinha uma ampla experiência com investidores chineses (Centola assessorou a gigante State Grid a entrar no Brasil). In 2014, o banco fez uma joint-venture e criou a MDC para investir em projetos de infraestrutura em estágio inicial com chineses. Desde o ano passado, fazemos assessoria para a CCCC (China Communications Construction Company), que comprou 80% da construtora Concremat e que também está investindo pesado no porto de São Luís (MA).

O sr. acredita que o cenário econômico pode se complicar com a atual crise política?
Tenho uma visão otimista em relação à economia. Acredito que a crise política se descolou da economia. The positive combination of falling interest rates and inflation will attract more foreign direct investments to the country. It's needed, Yet, resolve structural issues, like the approval of reforms.

How do you see the electoral scenario in 2018?
I can't say. Regardless of who takes the lead, it is necessary to continue with the necessary reforms for Brazil.

Article originally published at

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Doctor of Public International Law in Paris. He entered the diplomatic career in 1976, served in Brussels embassies, Buenos Aires, New Delhi, Washington, Beijing, Tokyo, Islamabade (where he was Ambassador of Brazil, in 2004). He also completed transitional missions in Vietnam and Taiwan. Lived 15 years in Asia, where he guided his career, considering that the continent would be the most important of the century 21 - forecast that, now, sees closer and closer to reality.