President Bush and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva have agreed to continue improving cooperation on alternative energy and trade. The leaders met in St. Petersburg, Russia, on the sidelines of the summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations.
President Bush says he and the Brazilian leader want to move forward on the so-called Doha round of world trade talks, as G8 leaders meet with heads of state from the world’s five fastest-growing economies: Brazil, India, China, Mexico and South Africa.
"He is one of the leaders when it comes to trade discussions. A lot of the world looks to him for judgment, so I view this as a very important meeting," Mr. Bush said. "We are committed to a successful Doha round, and in order for the round to be successful, the United States and Brazil must continue to strategize."
President Lula says it is extremely important that the Group of Eight leaders have set aside time at their summit to discuss the trade talks, which are aimed at reducing barriers to poorer countries. He says now is the time for heads of government to make tough political decisions.
"We cannot leave it in the hands of our negotiators only, who have done immense work," he said. "But now it seems to me that they don’t have any hidden card in their pockets any more. Now we are the ones who have to take our cards from our pockets."
The two leaders also discussed alternative energy sources. Brazil is one of the leading developers of bio-fuels, while reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil is one the biggest priorities for Mr. Bush’s second term.
President da Silva invited President Bush to build a major partnership with Brazil in producing ethanol, bio-diesel, and a new fuel called H-Bio, which mixes refinery petroleum with oil from soy, sunflower seeds, cotton and castor beans.
The World Trade Organizations negotiations on the Doha trade agenda have been stalled for months. Many developing nations and major agricultural exporters, such as Brazil, want developed economies, such as the United States, the European Union and Japan, to cut farm subsidies sharply.
The E.U. and U.S., however, say that in return, developing nations must lower barriers to foreign manufactured goods, and services such as banking.