This month Brazil reopens negotiations with the United States over the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), and the head of the Presidential Civilian Advisory Staff, Minister José Dirceu, advises: The orientation of the Brazilian government is “to advance in the negotiations,” but “always within the context and on the basis of the interests of Brazil, our national interests.”
“Brazil desires more trade; it needs more trade to resolve its social problems, to ensure development, to overcome its dependence upon foreign capital, and it is interested and willing to negotiate in the spheres that are of interest to the United States.”
The Minister explained that the Brazilian and American negotiators restored the agenda on the basis of the Miami declaration.
He recalled, however, that Brazil presents more complexities when it comes to reaching an agreement over the FTAA, because it is a country that has an industrial base, has a large domestic market, desires greater access to North American markets, and has an agenda with respect to investments and services that is more complicated than other Latin American countries.
In any case, according to the Minister, the resumption of negotiations was a good sign.
The text that is being negotiated is the one approved in 2003. It introduced greater flexibility into the negotiations for an agreement, providing Brazilian interests greater leeway to expand market access but honoring agreements established in the World Trade Organization with regard to matters such as intellectual property.
Dirceu proffered his evaluation in an exclusive interview on the Voice of Brazil program. The Minister spoke from the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, where he met with the American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
The Minister said that the encounter was valuable, because it served to reaffirm the partnership and interest in deepening relations between Brazil and the United States.
The possibility of a visit by President Bush to Brazil at the end of the year was also discussed. “President Lula and President Bush have had a very fruitful relationship, very advantageous for both countries and very advantageous for South America,” the Minister remarked.
Translation: David Silberstein