Visa Exemption for Chinese and Indians Surprises Diplomats who Fear for Security

Brazilian Government will not require reciprocity in waiver

Talita Fernandes Ricardo Della Coletta
Brasília

President Jair Bolsonaro's announcement to exempt visas for Chinese and Indian tourists concerns some members of the Foreign Ministry.

Although the measure has the support of Chancellor Ernesto Araújo, diplomatic cadres and government interlocutors view it with caution. In addition to the lack of reciprocity, there are security reasons, and it also involves two countries considered to be at higher migratory risk.

Members of honour guards holding Chinese and Brazilian flags attend a welcome ceremony for Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 25, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee - REUTERS

Diplomats involved in the preparations for Bolsonaro's trip to Japan, China, and Arab countries reported to Folha that they were surprised by the move, which was not expected.

They were studying the relaxation of the visa requirement and not a complete exemption, they said.

One of the arguments raised against the visa waiver for Chinese and Indians is the same as when Bolsonaro decided to grant an exemption for tourists from the United States, Australia, Japan, and Canada: the lack of reciprocity.

Today, China is the country that has the most tourists to the world, with 141 million people traveling abroad each year. By 2030, the number is expected to reach 300 million.

Brazil, however, receives few: there are 60,000 Chinese annually, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

Chinese tourists are coveted internationally, especially in European countries (where a visa is required). 

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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