China downplayed trade problems with fellow emerging giant Brazil, saying any challenges were limited and could be resolved through talks.

“The problems in China-Brazil trade and economic relations are limited and part of a phase,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a regular news briefing, adding that disputes could be solved through “bilateral consultation on an equal and friendly basis”.

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff began a five-day visit to China on Tuesday to push for more trade, a trip on which Hong said China was placing great importance.

“We’re confident that this visit will certainly bring to a new level the healthy relations that already exist between China and Brazil,” Hong said, noting that bilateral trade had grown 20-fold in the past decade, making China Brazil’s largest trade partner.

Rousseff’s visit, in tandem with a large delegation of executives and officials, bore early fruit on Tuesday after China placed $1.4 billion in orders for 35 jets from Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer SA.

But Rousseff has faced complaints at home from manufacturers and officials, who say China’s cheap yuan currency is undercutting domestic production and that China is soaking up Brazil’s commodities such as iron ore, but not buying value-added products.

The Brazil-China Business Council has said raw materials account for three-quarters of Brazil’s exports to China and that nearly 90 percent of Chinese investments in Brazil targeted natural resource sectors. Nearly half of Brazil’s manufacturers say they have lost market share to China at home. (Reuters)