Page last updated at 22:49 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 23:49 UK

China and Brazil sign trade deals at Bric summit

Hu Jintao and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
China and Brazil are strengthening their trade and investment ties

China and Brazil have signed several trade agreements on the sidelines of a shortened Bric summit in Brasilia.

The deals are aimed at boosting trade and energy co-operation between the two states and include a pact to build a Chinese steel plant in Brazil.

The four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China make up Bric.

The summit was brought forward by a day after China's President Hu decided to return home early to deal with the aftermath of a major earthquake.

Greater influence

This is the second summit of the Bric leaders, following their meeting in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg last year.

By Paulo Cabral, BBC News, Brazil

The Bric countries don't have much of a common political agenda so, as expected, trade and finance were the key issues at discussion in the summit in Brasilia.

It was in these areas that the joint statement released at the end of the meeting have brought some more concrete proposals.

The four countries have asked for the reforms in the World Bank to be concluded in upcoming Spring meetings and those in International Monetary Fund to be finished before the G20 Summit scheduled for November.

The four countries have also stated that they will study the possibility of using local currencies in international trade as an alternative to the US dollar. There is common understanding that the financial crises last year made it clear that emerging markets have a more important role to play in defining the shape of international finance.

From a political point of view it was also a reaffirmation in the belief of a multi-polar world in which emerging countries should have more say in major world decisions. But there are still doubts whether these countries have enough cohesion to bring their proposals to the table as an actual group and not just as an acronym created by a financial institution.

The countries also reiterated calls to have a greater say in global financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"Brazil, Russia, India and China have a fundamental role in creating a new international order that is more just, representative and safe," said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The group has been pushing for reform of the global financial system, which it says is unfairly dominated by developed economies such as the US and Japan.

The Bric countries account for 40% of the world's population and, therefore, should have a greater say in the way the global economy is managed, they argue.

Train link

President Lula said of the steel agreement: "It will be the biggest Chinese investment in Brazil and the biggest by China abroad in this sector."

The deal involves the Brazilian company LLX, a subsidiary of the EBX group controlled by billionaire, Eike Batista, and Chinese firm Wuhan Iron and Steel.

The mill will be built in the port of Acu in Rio de Janeiro state.

He added that China had also expressed an interest in bidding to construct a high-speed train line between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

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