Brazil resumes this month the negotiations with the United States for the creation of the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas), and Brazilian President’s Chief of Staff, José Dirceu, informs: the Brazilian government’s orientation is “to move forward in the negotiations”, but “always looking for and starting from the interests of Brazil, the national interests.”
The Minister explains that guidelines defended by Brazil since the Miami Declaration will continue to be followed. That text was approved in 2003 and makes negotiations for an agreement a little more flexible.
It also leaves more space for Brazil to increase it access to markets, while at the same time respecting established agreements from the World Trade Organization in relation to themes such as intellectual property.
Dirceu’s evaluation was made in an interview to the program Voz do Brasil. He talked by phone from the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, DC.
QUESTION”“ Mister Minister, how was your meeting this Thursday with the American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice?
Minister José Dirceu – The meeting was very productive, because we reaffirmed our partnership and the interest in strengthening the relationships between Brazil and the United States. As we know, the United States are our largest commercial partner, the largest investor in Brazil.
President Lula and President Bush have a very positive relationship, very productive to the two countries, very productive to South America, and we are once again restarting the negotiations on the FTAA and working about a possible visit of president Bush to Brazil in the end of the year.
The negotiators from Brazil and the United States have reapproached the agenda based in the Miami Declaration. For Brazil, evidently, to reach an agreement in relation to the FTAA is a little more complex, since it is a country with an industrial base and large domestic market.
Brazil wants more access to the North American markets and the nation has an agenda in terms of investments, more complicated than other Latin America countries. Any way, I believe that the restart of the negotiations was a good sign.
QUESTION – What is Brazil’s political position in relation to the FTAA negotiations?
Dirceu – To move forward in the negotiations, to try to conclude them, always looking for and starting from the interests of Brazil, the national interests.
Brazil wishes more trade, it needs more trade to solve it social problems, to guarantee the development, to overcome its dependence on foreign capitals.
And the country has interest and disposition of negotiating in the fields that are of interest of the United States.
But Brazil also has to preserve and to protect its industry, its domestic market, the sector of government purchases, of intellectual property, of services.
Brazil today is already a great exporter of services in Latin America. Therefore, these are areas in which, to move forward, we need reciprocity, we always need to take into account the national interest. But I believe that can look at the future with optimism.
QUESTION – You also had encounters with investors in the United States, during a week in which several positive numbers of the economy were published in Brazil. How do investors and the United States in general see Brazil?
Dirceu – The vision that I found here was a good, positive vision, a lot of expectation in relation to the progress of the Brazilian economy, a great respect for President Lula and also a great trust in Brazil at this time.
I am sure that we are able to take to investors what is of interest of Brazil at this moment: more investments in the infrastructure, particularly in the transport area. Also more investment in energy project and also more trade. I found a climate of a lot of trust in Brazil and of a lot of effort to improve trade and investments.
QUESTION – You also had meetings in the United Nations. How was the reaction to the international movement led by Brazil on the Goals of the Millennium?
Dirceu – UN Secretary’s Kofi Annan’s chief of staff, Mr. Mark (Mark Malloch Brown), praise the Brazilian action and proposed that we hold a conference for exchanging experiences with countries as big as Brazil ”“India, to South Africa, Indonesia.
Brazil, according to Mr. Mark, is an example, with programs that must and can be taken to other countries.
I believe that today Brazil is respected internationally, although we still need to move forward a lot, and more, in the fight against hunger, in the fight against inequality, in the creation of jobs. But, I believe that on those two years of Lula’s administration we were able to reach international recognition.
Voz do Brasil