Brazil Tells US that WTO Comes Before FTAA

Negotiations within the scope of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and agreements with developing countries constitute priorities for Brazil.

This information comes from the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, who defended the model approved in Miami (USA) as a basis for the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).


After participating in the opening of the seminar on Economic Development with Social Equity, an initiative of the India/Brazil/South Africa Dialogue Forum, Amorim said he hopes that the declaration made by US Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, that this week’s approval of the Cafta (the free trade agreement between the United States and the countries of Central America) will facilitate negotiations over the FTAA, will really be put into practice.


“I hope it will be put into practice, because if for such a small percentage of exports as Cafta represents there was so much difficulty in winning Congressional approval, with only a two-vote margin of victory in the House, I’m wondering how will it be with Brazil’s productivity and with the other Mercosur countries?” he queried.


For the Minister, it is necessary to put the FTAA back on track, and, to do so, it is necessary to establish a program. Amorim argued that discussions in the WTO have been the current global priority.


“Without denying the importance of the FTAA, we are all focused on the WTO, because until we know what is going to happen in the matter of agricultural subsidies, what will be eliminated, and what will be the degree to which agricultural protection is reduced, it is difficult even to talk about the FTAA, because it is difficult to know what to ask,” he affirmed.


The fact that the Cafta was approved by a small margin of votes, according to Amorim, shouldn’t weaken the United States in the WTO, where “the web of interests is more complex.”


For this very reason, he went on to say, “perhaps the US Administration can show it has more to gain and thus can also make more concessions. Certainly it is more than a purely regional agreement.


“For us, central issues such as agricultural subsidies and anti-dumping can only be discussed in the WTO. Not that we don’t want to discuss them in other forums; they are the ones who tell us they don’t want to discuss them in other forums. So we shall give priority to the forums in which we can obtain what we consider most important,” he said.


Agência Brasil

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