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Brazilian state-owned oil and gas company Petrobras plans to set up a subsidiary in China, reported Reuters, citing Petrobras chief executive Jean Paul Prates.

After receiving formal clearance, Prates stated that Petrobras plans to launch the Chinese subsidiary next year.

In addition to fostering closer ties between Brazil and China, he noted that the decision would support efforts to triple Brazil’s share in China’s oil imports over the next few decades.

“It is important to them,” Prates told the news agency in a phone interview during his business visit to China.

“It is an interesting signal, saying that in the same way that we have a Petrobras America, we will have a Petrobras China, because both countries are equally important to us,” the oil and gas company’s chief added.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has called for balanced and cordial relations with both China and the US.

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By GlobalData

Since assuming office in January, Lula has travelled to both Washington and Beijing.

According to Prates, Petrobras’ business in China will enable it to carry out operations and take part in projects as a partner in other markets too, including Africa.

He added that Chinese partnerships under development could also help to accelerate oil refining and fertiliser projects in Brazil, adding that China could help to revive the Brazilian naval industry.

Prates continued, noting that initiatives for fertiliser and oil refining in Brazil could improve thanks to collaborations being developed with China.

Earlier this week, Petrobras signed agreements with multiple Chinese companies including China National Offshore Oil Corporation, SINOPEC and China Energy International Group Company.