Brazil Pans Canada’s G20 Summit. Floods in Brazil Kept Lula Home

Brazilian Finance minister MantegaAt the end of the G20 summit, Brazil criticized the participants of the meeting – the world’s 20 most powerful nations – for not continuing the discussion around international trade liberalization.

“The only point where there was no breakthrough during the summit was in the trade and the Doha round’s negotiations,” said Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega, who represented Brazil at the G20.

According to him, American president Barack Obama, during lunch with the group’s leaders, “made it very clear that he disagreed with the approval of the round the way it now due to domestic political resistance.”

“Obama suggested that we move forward also in the liberalization of services,” said Mantega. “I answered by saying that we either get the result of a discussion that has been going on for nine years or we introduce new discussions and risk not getting anywhere.”

If the option it to start new discussions, the minister argued, then Brazil wishes to discuss agriculture, an issue in which the US refused to hear the emerging countries, which want greater openness.

The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, canceled plans to attend the G-20 economic summit in Toronto, Canada after flooding in the northeast of the country left at least 51 people dead and 120,000 others homeless.

A government spokesman said Friday that Lula chose not to attend the Group of 20 summit of world leaders he felt he needed to stay close to home to follow relief operations.

The Brazilian leader and other government officials Thursday traveled to the Northeastern states of Pernambuco and Alagoas, hit hardest by recent heavy rains and flooding, to assess the situation.

While the death toll has risen, civil defense officials said Friday the number of people missing has been scaled back from several hundred to 76. Government officials announced Thursday that the affected states will each receive millions of dollars in emergency funds.

Rescuers continue to work to reach communities isolated by mud, water and debris, but the effort is hampered by floodwaters that have washed away bridges and cut roads. Officials say the floods destroyed thousands of homes.

The Northeast region is a stronghold for Lula’s government ahead of presidential elections in October in which the popular leader wants Brazilians to elect his former chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff. Pernambuco is also Lula da Silva’s home state.

The G20 group includes the world’s biggest economies and covers two-thirds of the world’s population: Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Turkey in addition to the big European economies, the United States and Canada. 

Bzz/Mercopress

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