Brazil and Mexico Talk of Distrust and Plans of Free Trade

Presidents Calderon and Lula Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Felipe Calderon from Mexico called for a strategic alliance between the two countries based on free trade and cooperation between state energy companies Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and Petrobras.

Following a meeting on Monday at the Brazilian Foreign Ministry building Itamaraty, Lula told a press conference that he regretted the fact that the two countries bilateral trade so far this year is only 7.4 billion dollars.

"The world crisis has left us this challenge: not only to recover these levels of trade, but to beat them, given the vast potential of the two economies, which are both emerging and highly dynamic," Lula said.

The Brazilian president proposed an increase in the number of visits between the two nations, "until we manage to reduce the mistrust, frequently generalized, between Brazilian and Mexican investors."

Lula said that Brazil was willing and able to share important knowledge of deep-water exploration and bio-fuel production, two areas where Brazil leads the world.

"I am convinced the sharing of technology between Petrobras and Pemex, and their opportunity to work together, with political will, with this natural aptitude," he said. "They are two oil giants that if they work as individuals will be much smaller than if they work together," he said.

Calderon suggested an alliance between the two nations to face the international economic crisis and take advantage of the complementary aspects of the two nations' economies.

"The deep dependency on the US economy explains why Mexico was so hard hit in this crisis. That is why we intend to diversify our relations and boost the Mexico-Brazil relationship," he said.

Calderon said he was optimistic about sealing a free trade agreement with Brazil, although officials from both sides have discussed it since at least 2000.

"I know there is a lot of resistance to be overcome, some of it ideological, others based on prejudice and still others based on lack of understanding of Brazil and its potential," Calderon said.

"It is foreseeable that the fast growth that we need will not come from developed economies like the United States, Europe or Japan, but from emerging economies," he said.

Mercopress

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