Lula Still Hopeful Brazil Will Grow 4% in 2009

Cuiabá, capital of Mato Grosso state in Brazil The government of Brazil, despite the global economic crisis, is going to work for the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to grow 4% in 2009, said Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, December 22, in an address to European and Brazilian businessmen during the Brazil-European Union Partnerships Business Seminar: Challenges and Opportunities for Coming Years.

He called once again for rules limiting speculation in the global financial system and stated that Brazil is prepared to face the crisis.

"The country should not go into a recession and is going to continue growing. It will certainly not grow the 6% or 7% we would like it to grow, but it may grow 4% and we are going to work for that," said Lula.

"Despite many people saying that Brazil should grow 2.8% or 3%, I would like businessmen to know that in the government and in the economic team we are going to work targeting the perspective of 4% of economic growth. There should be no government projects halted due to the crisis," he added.

Lula defended broad reforms of the international financial system to avoid new crises of the kind taking place and said that the current economic problems are the result of "unguided financial speculation".

"We must strengthen the mechanisms for control, transparency and the representativeness of decisions that affect the whole of humanity. Many cannot continue paying for the irresponsibility of few."

According to the president of Brazil, the country's answer to the crisis has been to "bet on investment, on the expansion of consumption, on the defence of employment and on the support to industry."

On the spur of the moment, he returned to stating that he continues optimistic and that with maintenance of consumption in the country alone, the negative effects of international crisis may be faced.

"I am the main stimulator of the return to growth. I am going on television every day to ask people to buy, export and import as that is what the economic wheel needs."

The seminar also included the presence of the presidents of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, and of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso. The meeting is aimed at stimulating bilateral commercial exchange.

ABr

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