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Lula to attend Rousseff’s inauguration as BRICS bank chief in Shanghai

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrived in Shanghai China on Wednesday for his state visit aimed at boosting trade and cooperation with his country’s biggest trade partner.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will attend the inauguration of his former ally and predecessor Dilma Rousseff as the head of the New Development Bank (NDB) in Shanghai on Thursday.

The NDB is a multilateral institution established by the BRICS bloc of emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – to finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects. Rousseff, who was impeached in 2016, was elected unanimously by the NDB’s Board of Governors last month to replace another Brazilian, Marcos Troyjo. Lula and Rousseff have a long history of political collaboration and friendship, dating back to their involvement in the Workers’ Party and their fight against the military dictatorship. Lula has praised Rousseff as a competent and honest leader who will bring her experience and vision to the NDB.

Lula, who returned to power in January after defeating far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro, is accompanied by a large delegation of ministers, governors, lawmakers and business leaders. He is expected to sign at least 20 bilateral agreements with China on various sectors, such as agriculture, energy, technology, tourism and infrastructure.

China is Brazil’s biggest export market, buying billions of dollars worth of soybeans, beef, iron ore and other commodities every year. Brazil is also the biggest recipient of Chinese investment in Latin America. The trade value between the two countries reached $150.4 billion last year.

Lula has sought to repair the ties with China that were strained under Bolsonaro, who often made disparaging remarks about the Asian giant and its role in the Covid-19 pandemic. Lula has praised China as a strategic partner and a key player in global affairs.

Lula’s visit to China comes amid his efforts to mediate the war in Ukraine, where Russia has invaded and annexed parts of the country. Lula has proposed a peace plan that involves creating a buffer zone between the warring parties and holding a referendum on the future status of the disputed regions.

Lula has said he wants Brazil, China and other nations to help broker a peaceful solution to the conflict, but his initiative has been met with skepticism by Ukraine and some Western countries. Lula has argued that he has experience in dealing with complex situations, such as the nuclear talks between Iran and the US during his previous term.

Lula’s visit to China is part of his broader agenda to restore Brazil’s role as a global actor and a leader in Latin America. Lula has also visited Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay since taking office. He is expected to travel to Europe and Africa later this year.

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