Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, said that solutions to European and global economic difficulties need to promote economic growth and employment. Rousseff is in France for the summit of the G-20 leaders this week, but before she met with peers from the BRICS group to work out a common stance.
Rousseff and top advisers Wednesday met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Cannes in an effort to fine tune their countries’ responses to an unfolding fiscal crisis in Europe.
However, Brazil officials would not confirm whether the country and key BRICS counterparts would get on board to provide needed financial aid to ailing EU members.
BRICS members Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have scheduled a meeting for Thursday to see if they can reach a coordinated position on the matter.
Brazilian government officials last week said they would consider using a portion of Brazil’s 350 billion dollars in foreign reserves to help aid the EU through bilateral agreements at the International Monetary Fund.
But China, with more than 3 trillion dollars in reserves, has not committed to a preferred method for offering aid.
“China is willing to maintain close high-level contact with Brazil, and the two sides should map out a cooperation plan for the next decade so as to promote the bilateral relationship in a coordinated and strategic way”, said President Hu of the meeting with his Brazilian peer.
Hu added the two nations should further “develop pragmatic cooperation and fully use their mutually complementary advantages in capital, technology and energy resources to earnestly push forward cooperation in all fields and achieve a win-win result”.
The Chinese president said the two countries should also strengthen policy coordination and strategic cooperation within multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations, BRICS and the G20 in order ‘to jointly safeguard the interests and rights of the developing countries’.
President Rousseff said that Brazil is ready to work together with China to increase mutually beneficial cooperation in the areas of innovation, aviation, investment, environment, culture and education so as to continuously advance the bilateral strategic partnership.
The two presidents also exchanged views on the current global economic and financial situation, saying the BRICS countries and other emerging market economies should strengthen their coordination and cooperation as acute sovereign debt problems are troubling many developed countries, global inflation pressures are rising and the international financial markets are in turbulence.
China and Brazil established diplomatic ties in 1974 and set up a strategic partnership in 1993.
Brazil is China’s major trading partner in Latin America. Last year, two-way trade reached 62.5 billion dollars. In the first nine months of 2011, the trade volume increased 37% against the same period of last year to 62.4 billion dollars
In addition to Rousseff, China’s Hu also met IMF Managing Director Christine LaGarde Wednesday to discuss possible aid measures.
Bribing public officials when doing business abroad is a regular occurrence, according to a survey of 3,000 business executives from developed and developing countries.
Transparency International’s 2011 Bribe Payers Index released Wednesday ranks 28 leading international and regional exporting countries by the likelihood of their firms to bribe abroad.
Companies from Russia and China, who invested US 120 billion dollars overseas in 2010, are seen as most likely to pay bribes abroad. Companies from the Netherlands and Switzerland are seen as least likely to bribe.
Among the 28 countries in the list figure three from Latin America, with Brazil ranked in position 14, Argentina 23 and Mexico, 26, just ahead of China and Russia.
Addressing foreign bribery is a priority issue for the international community. A year ago the group of 20 leading economies (G20) committed to tackling foreign bribery by launching an anti-corruption plan.
The progress report of the working group monitoring the action plan, which G20 leaders are expected to approve at Cannes summit, will recognize steps taken by G20 countries China, Russia, Indonesia and India in criminalizing foreign bribery. Transparency International welcomes the report and calls for swift implementation of the further anti-corruption measures that it calls for.
“In their meeting in Cannes this week, G20 governments must tackle foreign bribery as a matter of urgency. New legislation in G20 countries is an opportunity to provide a fairer, more open global economy that creates the conditions for sustainable recovery and the stability of future growth.
“Governments can press home the advances made by putting resources behind investigations and prosecutions of foreign bribery, so that there is a very real deterrent to unethical and illegal behavior,” said Transparency International Chair, Huguette Labelle.
In the survey, international business leaders reported the widespread practice of companies paying bribes to public officials in order to, for example, win public tenders, avoid regulation, speed up government processes or influence policy.
However, companies are almost as likely to pay bribes to other businesses, according to the report, which looks at business-to-business bribery for the first time. This suggests that corruption is not only a concern for the public sector, but for the business sector as well, carrying major reputational and financial risks for the companies involved.
“It is clear that bribery remains a routine business practice for too many companies and runs throughout their business dealings, not just those with public officials. And companies that fail to prevent bribery in their supply chains run the risk of being prosecuted for the actions of employees and business partners,” said Labelle.
The 2011 Bribe Payers Index also looks at the likelihood of firms in 19 specific sectors to engage in bribery and exert undue influence on governments:
* Public works and construction companies scored lowest in the survey. This is a sector where bypassed regulations and poor delivery can have disastrous effects on public safety.
* Oil and gas is also a sector seen as especially prone to bribery. The extractives industry has long been prone to corruption risk. Companies operating in oil-rich Nigeria have already been fined upwards of 3.2 billion dollars in 2010-2011 for bribery of public officials.