BRASILIA, Jan. 26, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a press conference on the collapse of a dam, at Planalto Palace, in Brasilia, capital of Brazil, on Jan. 25, 2019. At least seven people were killed, nine injured and at le. Image Source: IANS News

Brasilia, Oct 16 : Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro plans to focus on trade and economic issues during his trip later this month to Japan and Asia, a high-level Foreign Ministry official said.

"The message is in the measures being taken by the administration to improve the business climate and open up the economy," Reinaldo Jose de Almeida, who serves as the Foreign Ministry's secretary for bilateral negotiations with Asia, said in a press conference on Tuesday, Efe news reported.

The diplomat said Bolsonaro's visits to Japan and China were aimed at showing Brazil's interest in the entire Asian market, which is one of the main destinations for the South American country's products.

Since 2009, China has been Brazil's No. 1 trading partner, with bilateral trade hitting $98.9 billion in 2018 and nearly $70 billion in the first nine months of this year.

Almeida said the situation was different with Japan since bilateral trade had dropped from around $15 billion in 2011 to $8 billion last year.

Bolsonaro begins his Asian tour on October 21 in Tokyo, where he will attend the enthronement ceremony for Emperor Naruhito the next day, an event expected to be attended by dozens of heads of state.

The president plans to meet on Oct. 23 with representatives of Japan's Brazilian community, which numbers some 200,000 people and is the third-largest in the world, trailing only those in the United States and Paraguay.

Bolsonaro is also scheduled to attend a meeting with Brazilian and Japanese business leaders at which he will discuss investment opportunities in Brazil.

From Tokyo, Bolsonaro will head to Beijing, where he plans to meet on Oct. 25 with officials from the National People's Congress (NPC), Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping.

"The visit to China will be the culmination of an intense agenda of (bilateral) meetings that were held during this year," Almeida said.

Vice President Hamilton Mourao and several Cabinet ministers visited China this year, the Foreign Ministry official said.

Brazil's interests in China are in "three principal areas," Almeida said.

First, Bolsonaro will try to reach agreements that "expand and diversify Brazilian exports," which mostly consist of raw materials, the secretary for bilateral negotiations with Asia said.

Almeida said Brazil wanteed to export more value-added products to China and open that market more for meats and fruit.

A second area of interest for the administration is attracting more Chinese investment, which totalled nearly $60 billion in the past decade and could be expanded in many industries, such as infrastructure and renewable energy.

Almeida said a third area of interest was expanding cooperation with China in science and technology, which are two sectors that the Bolsonaro administration has been emphasizing due to the need to transform Brazil into a digital economy, a trend taking hold around the world.

After visiting China, Bolsonaro will travel to Abu Dhabi, where he is scheduled to meet with officials and representatives of the business community in the United Arab Emirates on October 27.

From the UAE, the Brazilian president will head to Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He will return to Brazil on October 30.

-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text

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