Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, sent a message to worried members of the Brazilian industrial sector that all Brazil will do at the 6th Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization in Hong Kong this month is present a proposal to lower the average import tariff for the sector from 10.8% to 9.9%.
Speaking at a meeting of the Economic and Social Development Council, Amorim called the offer significant but well within reason. He explained that Brazil intended to use the flexibility clauses that WTO norms permit as a tool and maintain higher tariffs in sensitive sectors.
Amorim went on to say that the Brazilian offer would remain on the table only if the European Union and the United States make positive offers regarding market access and farm subsidy reductions. He insisted there had to be some kind of parity.
"Developing countries will reduce industrial sector import tariffs if there is an equivalent counterproposal for farm produce in developed nations," said the Minister.
Otherwise, he pointed out, the WTO talks would be a double failure, doubly unjust. "That is because this round of negotiations has two goals: reduce the gap between the developed and the developing nations, as well as reduce the gap between the industrial and agricultural sectors," explained the Minister.
Brazil’s foreign trade surplus in November reached US$ 4.09 billion, with exports of US$ 10.79 billion and imports of US$ 6.7 billion. That was the year’s third biggest monthly surplus (behind only July’s US$ 5 billion, and September’s US$ 4.3 billion).
The cumulative trade surplus, January to November, is now at US$ 40.44 billion, an increase of 34.08% (US$ 10.27 billion), compared to the same period last year.
Total exports for the year have now reached US$ 107.41 billion (up 24% over the same period in 2004), and imports US$ 66.97 billion (up 18%).