Brazil and China in talks to strengthen science and technology ties

The countries are discussing further bilateral cooperation in areas including artificial intelligence and smart cities; China calls for financing to translate theory into practice.

Brazil and China are in talks around strengthening the countries' bilateral cooperation in science and technology, particularly in areas such as artificial intelligence, smart cities, space technologies and healthcare areas such as vaccine development and genomic sequencing, as well as the exchange of scientists and researchers.

The areas of mutual interest for potential cooperation were discussed during a virtual meeting between the Brazilian science, technology and innovation minister, Marcos Pontes, and China's science and technology minister Wang Zhigang on 17 June.

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"We have an intense, productive and long-standing cooperation with China", said Pontes. During the meeting, the Brazilian minister suggested the possibility of renewed cooperation on issues such as food production, access to water, climate change, renewable energy and job creation, which will be affected by technological advances.

Moreover, the ministries agreed to discuss the details of the meeting of the Science, Technology and Innovation subcommittee of the Sino-Brazilian Commission for High Level of Agreement and Cooperation, scheduled to take place in September this year.

For Wang Zhigang, the meeting is "a starting point" in terms of strengthening cooperation between the two countries in science and technology matters. The Chinese minister agreed with Brazil's proposed areas of common interest, but pointed out the need to establish financing mechanisms to put the joint actions into practice.

"It is necessary to maintain the partnerships established in recent years and seek new types of cooperation. We must look to the past and think about the future," he noted.

Earlier this year, the Brazilian science and technology minister saw the most severe reduction in the country's ministerial budgets for 2021. At a public hearing at the Brazilian Congress in early April, minister Pontes said the current departmental budget is insufficient for the basic maintenance of the 28 research organizations linked to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.