FGV begins series of debates about Asian countries
This year, Fundação Getulio Vargas’ International Intelligence Unit (FGV NPII) will hold a series of debates about the Asian countries that surround China, called Focus on Asia. The web series, to feature ambassadors, other diplomats and scholars from the region, will start on February 25 with a talk by the ambassador of Indonesia to Brazil, Edi Yusup. The goals of these events are to expand knowledge about these lesser known but strategic economies on the continent, identify forms of cultural and economic exchange, and promote partnerships between Brazilian and Asian companies.
“This region that surrounds China is very relevant because the world’s economic center is moving there. Unfortunately, Brazil has its back to this area, which will become increasingly important as it is a fabulous consumer market. Brazil is competitive not only in food, but also in clothing and other sectors. It is well placed to supply this region without hurting the interests of other commercial partners,” says Professor Renato Flôres, the director of NPII.
According to him, although China is a fundamental partner for Brazil, it needs to be seen within an Asian context. “We need to have a strategy not only for China, but for Asia as a whole, to take advantage of the enormous goodwill that we have in the continent’s countries. This new positioning would greatly benefit our trade relations with China. Achieving a greater presence in Asia, as well as making us richer, would increase our bargaining power,” he adds.
International and national contexts will be on the agenda in the debates, in light of recent facts. Possible changes in U.S. foreign policy, the question of whether or not multilateralism will return and changes in Europe and Asia itself are some of the aspects to be considered in the discussions. A large and unprecedented trade agreement between 15 countries in the region – involving the creation of the bloc called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – will significantly reduce tariffs between them, in addition to strengthening the region’s production chains. This is the first trade agreement to bring together China, Japan and South Korea – a topic that will also permeate discussions in the webinars.
According to Flôres, there is an urgent need to open up dialogue and strengthen Brazil’s relationships with Asian countries. “We have to build a sustainable and continuous channel with them, which takes time, given the need to structure, based on specific cultural factors, solid bonds of trust, without which there is no success in any project that is envisaged in the region,” he says. He also warns that Brazil is lagging behind in this endeavor. “Our South American neighbors, such as Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, are moving closer to this great market, which cannot be overlooked. Brazil needs to start to mark its presence there soon, otherwise it will lose the goodwill it has.”
Future webinars will focus on countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, India, South Korea, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand. As part of the series of meetings, NPII will also hold thematic webinars to discuss the following topics: “Asia as a consumer market and opportunities for Brazil,” “The technology war between China and the United States: impacts on the West,” “100 days of the Biden administration – relations between the ‘new United States’ and non-Chinese Asia,” and “The United States, China, intermediate powers and the future of international organizations.”
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