Lula: ‘Brazil and US Discuss Their Differences Without Confrontation’

Your Excellency, George Bush, President of the United States of America, and Mrs. Laura Bush; my dear wife, Marisa LetÀ­cia Lula da Silva; ladies and gentlemen; members of the delegations of the U.S. and of Brazil; journalists from Brazil, and journalists from the U.S., and journalists from other countries who are also here:

The presence of President Bush here with us expresses to a very high degree the intensification of the dialogues between our governments.

In December 2002, before I took office, President Bush was kind enough to receive me at the White House. In June 2003, I was with him once again in an important working meeting in Washington. We had several meetings also at international meetings during these almost three years that I’ve been in government.

We have exchanged letters and we spoke several times over the phone. Today’s visit is a privileged opportunity for us to discuss many issues in our bilateral relations, as well as regional and global issues around which we can work together.

I wish to express publicly a few considerations on relations between the U.S. and Brazil in the more general framework of our foreign policy. I have often said that our foreign policy is not just a way of projecting Brazil into the rest of the world; it is also a fundamental element for our nation’s project of development.

During these 34 months of my administration, we have worked very hard to come closer to our South American brothers. We have intensified bilateral relations with all countries in the region. We have expanded and strengthened the MERCOSUR. We have created the South American community of nations.

We have maintained excellent relations with the countries of the Caribbean, as well as Central and North America. We have pushed for very active policies in Africa, a continent I have visited several times and been to 14 countries. Our country has the second largest black population in the world, and we have historical debt to the African continent.

Brazil has also opened up to the Arab world, the main result of that opening being the summit between South America and Arab countries. We strengthened our relations with major emerging countries such as China, India, Russia, Korea and South Africa.

We have not stopped opening new frontiers. The results of that opening have been unprecedented growth in our foreign trade, the attraction of new investments, and the internationalization of our own companies. But that quest for new horizons has not compromised our relationships with major developed countries such as the European Union, Japan, and obviously, the United States of America.

When I was elected President, there were those who foresaw the deterioration of relations between Brazil and the U.S. They were roundly mistaken. On the contrary; our relations today are going through one of their best moments ever. Economic and trade relations have expanded very much, and our political dialogue has gained a much higher quality.

We, the United States and Brazil, understand our economic and political importance, as well as the responsibilities they imply. We defend our national interests and our general political values. Our self-respect strengthens our mutual respect. When each country values its own sovereignty, we are able to respect the sovereignty of other countries, as well.

The understandable differences and points of view on issues of the regional or global agendas have been discussed frankly, with no surprises or confrontations. I wish to recognize how President Bush, his Secretary of State and other top officials of the U.S. administration, have contributed to making this environment of cordial relations become even better.

Mr. President, our peoples share common outlooks on absolutely fundamental issues, such as the defense of democracy, the spread of freedom, and respect for human rights. We have had dialogue on crucial themes for two nations that are committed to the challenges of peace and of globalization. International security, development aid, the balance of trade rules, and the reform of the multilateral system in the United Nations, in particular, have been at the core of our conversations.

We have known how to emphasize our affinities. We are two major, multiethnic democracies, with the vocations for cooperating in promoting full citizenship and fighting all forms of discrimination.

The presence of a large Brazilian community in the U.S. enriches the tradition of mutual contact and the admiration between our societies. Good dialogue between our immigration authorities will be fundamental for guaranteeing fair and balanced treatment for those who are the true bridges between our countries.

We also spoke very much about what we could do to promote the progress and well-being of other countries. We are working hard in favor of development, particularly in Africa.

In Haiti, where Brazil is heading the U.N. stabilization mission, we have collaborated in emergency programs in the areas of health and basic sanitation.

We are involved in achieving the full success of national elections that will open the way to normality, in political terms, and the return to economic and social development for Haiti. It is also important that the economic aid that’s been promised to Haiti arrive quickly.

President Bush and I have the same optimistic vision on our bilateral relations. There have been many advances following our first meeting in 2003. The working groups that we created on growth, agriculture and energy have brought significant results. And we have now decided to advance in other strategic fields.

We will begin high-level cooperation in science and technology, and intensify our educational partnerships in areas such as biodiversity and agriculture. In the area of health, we will be opening up new fronts for cooperation to fight diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, and threats such as the avian flu pandemic.

Our partnership is grounded on a solid economic basis. The United States are the largest individual partner of Brazil as the largest market for our exports and our main source of direct overseas investment. Our exchange has grown at rates of 7 percent per year. In 2004 alone, we received $4 billion in investments from the United States.

We carry on tranquil and mature discussions on specific issues that always come up as part of any partnership on this scale, on a scale like this. We are working to negotiate the removal of unjustified barriers to our bilateral trade, and we are working in the same spirit to achieve multilateral economic and trade discussions.

The successful conclusion of the Doha Round by the end of 2006 is a priority for the United States, as much as it is for Brazil. We agree that the reduction, with a view to the elimination, of agricultural subsidies will be a key to balance in that round. I thank President Bush for his words of support for Brazil’s determination to contribute to development and stability in our region.

It is for all of these reasons that we are very glad to see the U.S.’ willingness to include Brazil amongst those countries with whom the United States has a strategic and privileged dialogue. President Bush, what we leave for history is more than our immediate decisions. What really matters are those initiatives that take into account future generations, as well as the need for us to face and overcome the major challenges of our time. Brazilian foreign policy transcends governments.

At the same time we defend our national interest, we pursue major democratic values in the international sphere. In that sense, I once again insist that U.S.-Brazil relations are fundamental, and their improvement is a legacy that we should leave to those who will come after us.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Remarks by President Luiz Inácio Lula of Brazil during US President George W.  Bush visit to Brazil.


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