[BRASÍLIA] Brazil signalled on Wednesday it will look to China for major investments in its infrastructure as it prepares to host next year's Olympics amid an economic slump.
Investments and trade will be at the top of the agenda next week when Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang meets here with President Dilma Rousseff.
In an interview with China Business News, Ms Rousseff said she is hoping for Chinese investments to upgrade Brazil's dilapidated railroads, highways, ports and airports.
"I hope there can also be greater cooperation on trade flows between Brazil and China," Ms Rousseff said.
"The issue of free trade between Brazil and China is very important and must be on the agenda," Ms Rousseff stressed.
Mr Li arrives on Tuesday in Brasilia on an official visit.
China has been Brazil's chief trading partner since 2009 and one of its main sources of foreign investment.
Bilateral trade jumped by a factor of 13 between 2001 and 2013 when it reached US$83.3 billion. Brazilian exports moreover outstripped imports from China by US$8.72 billion in 2013 as the South American giant benefited from high Chinese demand for commodities.
That demand has since dipped, putting a brake on Brazilian growth.
Mr Li will visit Colombia, Peru and Chile as well as Brazil in a South American swing aimed at building Beijing influence in the region.