Brazil Urged by World Trade Organization to Reduce Trade Barriers

Brazilian soy The World Trade Organization (WTO) said in a report released this Monday (March 9) that Brazil should further reduce barriers to trade in order to boost its economy, particularly given the global economic downturn.

The report was prepared in February ahead of Brazil's trade policy review, which goes on for three days and will conclude on Wednesday.

"In order to meet the new challenges presented by the current world economic slowdown, Brazil needs to press on with its efforts to give additional impetus to trade and investment," the WTO said, which included "lowering effective tariff protection" and ceasing prohibitions on imports of certain goods.

"Solving the long-standing problem of high domestic interest rate spreads would also encourage trade and investment, and thus productivity," the trade organization said.

It also commended Brazil's reforms and macroeconomic policy which the WTO said allowed the country to enjoy economic growth in recent years.

In the 12 months to September of last year, growth reached an annualized rate of 6%, though this was expected to slow due to the economic crisis.

The European Union meanwhile called on Brazil to resist protectionist measures and take other policy moves, such as increasing watch of intellectual property rights and join the government procurement system of the WTO, so that international companies could better compete in the local market.

The EU remained Brazil's largest trading partner but recent years have seen a rise in the South American nation's business with China, other Latin American countries and Africa. Brazil is the EU primary trade partner in Latin America.

Brazil, a member of the G20 – the group of the world's largest economies – has the tenth largest gross domestic products (GDP) in the world.

The WTO is still negotiating the stalled Doha Round of trade talks, which was launched in 2001.

Senior Brazilian officials, including president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and foreign minister Celso Amorim, have voiced support for the round.

Mercopress

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