Brazil and US to Fine Tune Positions Before Next G-20 Summit

President Lula of Brazil Barack Obama, the newly inaugurate US president, wants to work with Brazil on biofuels and global trade talks as a way to strengthen bilateral relations and address the international economic crisis, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's spokesman said on Monday.

Lula and Obama spoke by phone for about 25 minutes and agreed to meet in March in Washington, said the Brazilian presidency spokesman Marcelo Baumbach. This was the first contact between the leaders of the largest economies in North and South America.

Obama may visit Brazil in the Northern Hemisphere's summertime, between July and September, though no date has been set.

According to Baumbach, Obama instructed his economic team to coordinate joint positions with Brazil before the G-20 summit of the world's largest and leading emerging economies to be held in London next April.

In his national radio address last week, Lula urged Obama to make the Doha round of global trade talks a priority.

"President Obama said he is interested in continuing discussions to advance the Doha round, given the importance of global trade to confront the current international economic crisis," Baumbach said.

Obama said the United States has much to gain by cooperating with Brazil on biofuels, according to Baumbach. The new US president has made the increased use of alternative energy sources, including biofuels, a key goal of his administration.

Brazil is among the world's biggest users of alternative fuels, with nearly 90% of all new automobiles in the country so-called flex-fuel cars that can run on ethanol made from sugarcane.

Baumbach said Lula told Obama he is also interested in discussing other "priorities" such as bilateral relations with the US, global peace, relations with Latin America and climate change.

Lula is scheduled to address an investors seminar in New York next March and would then fly to Washington to meet with President Obama.

Mercopress

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