Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva meets his counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday, with whom he hopes to strengthen ties after strongly criticizing the IMF and the omnipresence of the US dollar the day before.

Brazil “is back on the international scene,” the 77-year-old left-wing leader proclaimed in Shanghai on Thursday, wanting to turn the page on isolation under the presidency of his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

Came to attend the enthronement of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016) at the head of the Brics bank, whose headquarters is in Shanghai, Lula took the opportunity to castigate the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which he accused of “asphyxiating the economies of countries like Argentina”.

The Brics are a group of emerging countries that brings together Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa, founded in 2006, during Lula’s first term as president (2003-2010).

“No leader can work with a knife to his throat because he is in debt,” said the former trade unionist.

The head of state of Latin America’s biggest economy also lamented that the US dollar is still used for most international trade.

“Why would all countries have to trade in the dollar? Who decided that the dollar would be the (reference) currency?” launched the Brazilian president.

“Today, a country must obtain dollars to export when it could do so in its own currency,” he added.

At the end of March, during an economic forum bringing together several dozen Brazilian bosses in China, the two countries signed an agreement providing that their exchanges could be carried out in their own currency, without using the dollar.

Two banks – one from each country – have been appointed to carry out the foreign exchange transactions that will allow the exporter to receive in their own currency a payment made by the importer in their home currency.

This forum took place on the dates originally scheduled for Lula’s visit, which had to be postponed due to “mild pneumonia” from which the Brazilian president suffered.

On Friday, Lula, back in power since January, is to be received by Prime Minister Li Qiang at the People’s Palace in Beijing, before an interview with President Xi Jinping and then a press conference in the early evening.

“The time when Brazil was absent from major world decisions is over. We are back on the international scene after an inexplicable absence”, assured Thursday the former turner-miller, who visited his American counterpart Joe Biden in February.

Faced with Xi Jinping, Lula wants to address the conflict in Ukraine in particular.

The two countries have in common that they have never imposed financial sanctions on Russia.

Lula hopes to play again the role of mediator who contributed to the nuclear agreements between Iran and the United States during his second term (2007-2010).

China is under increasing international pressure to weigh on Moscow and bring it to the negotiating table.

This is the fourth official visit to China for Lula, who began his third term in January, to, he said on Monday before his departure, “strengthen” the relationship of the South American giant with the Asian giant.

“I will invite Xi Jinping to come to Brazil for a bilateral meeting, to introduce him to the country and show him projects for which Chinese investments are of interest to us,” he added.

Trade between Brazil and China reached $150 billion in 2022, with $89.7 billion exported by Brazilians to China.

Before returning to Brasilia, Lula will travel to the United Arab Emirates on Saturday for a one-day official visit.

04/14/2023 13:01:35 – Beijing (AFP) – © 2023 AFP