U.S. and Brazil Look to Expand Trade, Broaden Partnership
By Jeff Baron, Staff Writer
Washington — Brazil and the United States, the Western Hemisphere’s largest economies and largest democracies, are celebrating their close ties and talking about ways to expand them.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Brazilian Foreign Minister Antônio de Aguiar Patriota met with reporters in Washington on June 1, and Clinton said Brazil serves as a model for emerging democracies of “what is possible, not just throughout our hemisphere but indeed globally.”
Clinton said the United States and Brazil collaborate on such issues as energy, food security and development assistance in other countries. “Brazil is now a global donor to many of the important funds and efforts that are aimed at alleviating poverty, hunger and suffering,” she said. She also cited Brazil’s leadership in biofuels.
Among the broader issues of interest to both countries, Patriota mentioned his recent visit to the Middle East. “There are opportunities there for us in joining forces and transforming the movements in favor of greater freedom of expression, improved governance [and] opportunity for young people in the Arab world,” he said.
Clinton said one focus of the talks at the State Department has been on people-to-people exchanges, particularly in expanding exchanges of students and educators to boost the educational attainment of young Brazilians. Patriota said the goal is to “promote a fast track for identifying clusters of universities, institutions and colleges that are ready to receive Brazilian students in the United States.”
Patriota said Brazil’s growing trade deficit with the United States “is cause for some concern in Brazil.” He encouraged increased U.S. investment in Brazil as his country upgrades its airports in preparation for hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.
Brazil’s steady economic growth during the financial crisis of the past few years has helped drive up the price of its currency and enabled its growing middle class to buy imported goods. The Brazilian currency, the real, buys twice as many U.S. dollars as it did in 2004.
China has passed the United States as Brazil’s largest trading partner, but Patriota said sales to China are dominated by three raw materials: iron ore, soya and oil. Trade with the United States is much more diverse, he said.
Clinton called an expansion of U.S. investment and trade with Brazil “a very high priority for the Obama administration.”
President Obama was one of the first heads of state to visit Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff when she took office this year. Clinton and Patriota said they are working toward another meeting of the two in Washington.