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To Brazil, to Gold

Charles Tang, Chairman of the Brazil China Chamber of Industry & Commerce; Published in Chinese by International Finance News, China, a newspaper of Peoples Daily, Beijing, China, on April 29th, 2008


China's rapid development has created enormous well being for a large portion of the Chinese People who are becoming ever more wealthy and are now able to consume what was unimaginable only a couple of decades ago. With the present policy of Harmonious Society, the economic and social inclusion of even larger portions of Chinese people will be further accelerated.

This social advancement of gigantic proportions will require a corresponding huge supply of strategic resources to power China 's sustained growth and to feed the growing number of its citizens joining the country's economic life. These Chinese people will live with greater dignity and participate in the country's economic well being that is being developed. History has no record of such achievement of human rights as the one developed by successive Chinese governments since the opening of New China.

However, the Chinese companies are still fairly timid in investing in countries like Brazil to secure the supply of these strategic resources that China needs.

Brazil is a huge country of continental proportions. Its territory is only about 1 million sq kilometers less than the size of China , but with less than 14% of the Chinese population. However, unlike China , most of Brazil 's territory consists of fertile land than can be cultivated and is being underutilized. Brazil 's huge reserves of mineral and water resources are well known and it is one of the largest suppliers of food and mineral resources to the world.

Due to this abundance of fertile land and mineral resources, the entry price in Brazil to grow soybean and cotton, to purchase licensed timber forests, or to raise cattle, is low. Chinese people who travel to Brazil are amazed by the large tracts of unused or underutilized land. There is also and abundance of iron ore mines and that of other minerals in Brazil.

What Brazil needs is investment in its infrastructure of transportation logistics, including railways and ports. Chinese companies who wish to make a long term investment commitments to buy land, or iron ore mines and build the necessary logistics, can obtain healthy financial returns. Primarily, it can ensure a stable long term supply of these strategic resources that China so needs.

Brazil is a politically stable country of still enormous unexplored wealth. Most multinational companies in the country are making huge profits. The return on capital of major foreign banks, automobile manufacturers, and others foreign companies in Brazil tend to be higher than in their countries of origin. Other positive aspects of investing in Brazil is its friendly people, favorable climate, huge market and access to the Mercosul free trade association markets of six other countries in South America.

Other nations have been more aggressive than China in their quest to secure resources and market shares in Brazil. A major Japanese trading company is building 40 sugar cane ethanol plants in partnership with producers and the Brazilian national oil company. Sugar cane ethanol does not compete with the food chain and is much cheaper, almost a third of the cost of corn ethanol. Most importantly, it does not use energy for its manufacture and provides excess electricity, from electric generators powered by left over sugar cane waste, to the local grid.

Brazil has had a history of more than 33 years of developing technology that uses 100% ethanol powered cars with great success. Clean renewable energy costs less than the petroleum dirty energy that helps pollute our world. Beijing would not have to quarantine over one million cars for the Olympics if China 's cars were run on ethanol.

Americans are buying huge tracts of land to farm soybeans and corn due to the cheap land available. Major steel companies are buying up the iron ore mines that are also abundant in the country, or establishing pig iron, or steel manufacturing plants, next to the mines.

Chinese companies should buy mines and build the railway infrastructure to be able to have their own supply of iron ore and other minerals. Chinese could be manufacturing sugar cane ethanol for China 's need for clean energy. Why are there no Chinese companies buying cheap land to plant soybeans, cotton, corn and raise beef cattle to ship to the Chinese market?

With abundant cheap land, corn can be grown by the Chinese in Brazil and then ship its own chicken and pork back to their local markets. Why must China be so dependant on the mining companies who impose their prices on China 's needs and the multinational, or even Chinese, grain trading companies for imported food?

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