Brazil Will Play Tit for Tat with US and EU on Import Duties

The Brazilian proposal to lower import duties on industrial goods will only be decided in December. This was the main result Monday, September 19, meeting of Brazil’s Foreign Trade Chamber (Camex). A ministerial-level meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is scheduled for December in Hong Kong.

At the year-end meeting, governments will discuss agreements to lower import duties. At these discussions the Brazilian government has an interest in reducing barriers to sales of agricultural products in Europe and the United States.


“Agriculture is being called the driving force behind the Hong Kong meeting. So, everything will depend upon how this driving force is handled,” said the minister of Agriculture, Roberto Rodrigues, at the conclusion of the Camex meeting.


In his view, the greater the liberalization in the agricultural sphere, the greater the reduction of import duties in the industrial sphere. The executive secretary of the Camex, Mário Mugnaini, said that the ministers have received various suggestions for the stance the government should uphold in Hong Kong.


Some of the suggestions have come from representatives of the private sector, such as the Entrepreneurial Coalition and the Workers’ Central Union. The government’s plan is to formulate a proposal in accordance with all those involved, not just the public sector.


The secretary pointed out that the proposal presented by the Ministry of Finance to lower duties from 35% to 10.5% does not represent an official governmental position and is still under analysis, together with various other studies done by the other ministries that are involved and by the private sector.


For the time being, according to Mugnaini, the tendency is for Brazil to adopt the so-called “ABI formula,” backed by Argentina, Brazil, and India, adjusting the reduction in duties to each country’s productive structure.


This is also the position defended by the Entrepreneurial Coalition, formed by entrepreneurs from the productive sector. “Brazil is currently tied to the defense of the ABI proposal. With the movements that might arise, Brazil can shift. But we cannot ignore that the picture we currently have in mind corresponds to the ABI formula,” Mugnaini emphasized.


Prior to the meeting in Hong Kong, there will be various preparatory meetings involving the negotiators who represent the member countries of the WTO, in order to define the main topics for December’s agenda.


The Hong Kong meeting is part of the WTO’s Doha Round, which began in 2001 and is expected to define goals for the liberalization of world trade.


Agência Brasil

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