Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, carrying on a tradition since 1947 at the United Nations where Brazil opens the annual session, opened the 67th General Assembly yesterday, September 25, with the first speech by a head of state.
In her remarks she denied the charge by the United States that Brazil has adopted protectionist measures.
“Protectionism should be combated. It confers greater competitivity through spurious means. What Brazil has done has been unjustly called protectionist. The only thing Brazil did was to adopt legitimate commercial defense measures that are recognized by the World Trade Organization,” she declared.
Rousseff added that it was the US that was distorting world trade relations by creating an artificial devaluation of its currency with detrimental consequences in developing nations such as Brazil.
She called on the G-20, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to work to control exchange rate wars and to foster economic growth.
Dilma went on to say that many of the problems she mentioned a year ago at the opening of the 66th General Assembly remained.
“With the passage of time, solutions have become more urgent. The economic crisis has taken on a new shape. The option to follow orthodox policies has aggravated the situation with consequences in emerging nations,” she said.
She criticized leaders in Europe and the US, saying that they have not found a path to economic alternatives that promote social inclusion and protect the world’s most vulnerable populations from hunger, unemployment and disillusionment.
“History shows that exaggerated austerity, when it is isolated from growth, is self-defeating. In Brazil we have increased investments in infrastructure and moved to combat inflation as we promote social inclusion and combat poverty.
“We have lowered the tax burden and the cost of energy. Over 40 million Brazilians have crossed the poverty line and moved into the middle class in the last decade,” said the president of Brazil.