Navigating the Ripple Effects: Brazil-China Relations in Light of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

Published by Vestnik

From Adriana Abdenur

The literature on Brazil-China relations has expanded rapidly during the past decade, but most of this scholarship has focused on bilateral channels or on the broad trends in how China’s growing presence impacts politics, economics, and society in Brazil. Largely left out of this equation is how China’s cooperation and competition dynamics within its own region shape its relations to Brazil. How does the promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) affect Brazil’s relations with China? This paper draws on official documents and statistics to analyze how the BRI affects Brazil´s relations with China along three dimensions: the economic, strategic, and political spheres. I argue that, despite the geographic distances separating Brazil from the Belt and Road Initiative, the initiative has concrete repercussions for Brazil’s bilateral and multilateral dealings with China through a ripple effect emerging out of the BRI’s spatial configuration. The paper also proposes that most of this impact is shaped by a ripple effect emerging out of the BRI’s spatial configuration, although some components of the initiative, namely the Digital Belt and Road, are less anchored in geographic space. Brazilian researchers and policymakers must think beyond bilateral channels and consider how geopolitics and geoeconomics shape Brazil-China relations.

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