RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Brazilian government announced Tuesday that it has signed an agreement with China to create a 20-billion-US-dollar cooperation fund to expand ties in energy, agriculture and digital services, among others.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed on the sidelines of the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, which took place on Monday.
Brazilian dailies, including Correio do Povo and Monitor Mercantil, celebrated the agreement as the first to be signed between Brazil's new government and China.
"Brazil and China are two important countries on the international stage. The MOU responds to a demand by the private sector to strengthen ties in the tertiary (services) sector, taking advantage of the focus China has been giving to the expansion of the sector," Brazil's Minister of Industry and Trade Marcos Pereira, who is attending the forum, told Correio de Povo.
In Beijing, the MOU was signed by the Brazilian Ministry of Planning's Secretary of International Affairs Jorge Arbache, who said, "the fund should merit great celebration" as it represents "concrete proof of foreign interest in the country."
The Brazil-China Cooperation Fund, to be financed with 15 billion U.S. dollars from China and 5 billion from Brazil, "will finance priority projects in infrastructure and can facilitate cooperation in industrial capacity between the two countries," according to Brazilian government website Portal Brasil.
The agreement is the result of bilateral negotiations that followed Brazilian President Michel Temer's visit to China in early September.
Among the sectors in Brazil slated to receive funding are "energy and mineral resources, advanced technology, agriculture, agro-industry and agricultural warehousing, manufacturing and digital services ... for the mutual benefit of both sides," the government added.
Since 2009, China has been Brazil's largest trading partner, with trade amounting to 66.3 billion U.S. dollars last year.
China is the third largest exporter of services in the world, having exported 527 million U.S. dollars services to Brazil while importing 254 million U.S. dollars in services from Brazil last year.