Lula courts Chinese tech for Brazil, brushes off “prejudices”

BEIJING, April 14 (Reuters) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday defended his country’s pursuit of Chinese communication and semiconductor technology, brushing off security concerns from Western nations led by the United States.

“No one will prohibit Brazil from improving its relationship with China,” the leftist Brazilian president said on a state visit to Beijing, a day after visiting a research center of telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

Lula said in public remarks that his Huawei visit was “a demonstration that we want to tell the world we don’t have prejudices in our relations with the Chinese.”

China and Brazil agreed on Friday to set up a working group to pursue cooperation on semiconductors as the South American nation strengthens ties with Beijing in areas of sensitive technology.

Lula met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and signed 15 agreements including a deal for a sixth satellite used to monitor the Amazon, and the development of technology for cybersecurity and fifth-generation (5G) mobile communications.

Information technology has been a sticking point for China’s relations with the United States and European countries that have in some cases banned Chinese products for security reasons.

Brazil, however, is interested in attracting Chinese investment in these areas, despite recent US pressure discouraging the use of 5G mobile equipment from Huawei.

In an interview with Reuters, Lula’s foreign policy advisor Celso Amorim said Brazil would not veto the installation of a Chinese semiconductor factory in Brazil, and was interested in developing the technology with China.

Among their accords, China and Brazil agreed to “explore mechanisms to promote bilateral cooperation in scientific and technological research and industrial innovation.”

That would involve joint research and development activities between public, private and academic institutions, and the exchange of scientists and scientific papers.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu in Brasilia; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by David Holmes

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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