Brazil and United States will attempt to advance the Doha global trade talks during US president George Bush's official two day visit to Brazil which begins today, March 8. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said he was looking forward to "in depth" negotiations with his "good friend" Bush and also expects the "necessary concessions" to ensure the Doha round is successful.
"We're close to an agreement", announced Lula da Silva. Brazil and India lead the so called G20 group of emerging countries that are demanding rich countries slush farm subsidies and lesser tariffs to ensure better access to markets.
Lula said that developing countries are willing to contribute their share of the deal by making tariffs and regulations for industrial produce and services more flexible as demanded by United States and the European Union.
"So, we are asking the United States to stop the subsidies it gives today," Lula said.
Lula called on Europe to open to products from the developing world and insisted the G20 group of developing nations needed to be flexible on industrial products and services
In an interview with several Latinamerican newspapers, President Bush admitted his trip could tip the balance in favor of an agreement in the Doha global trade round.
He described global trade negotiations as "very important," but warned that it must not be taken for granted that "United States is after trade agreements".
"In fact there's a strong protectionist feeling in United States. I strongly resist those temptations," said Bush whose administration lost control of Congress to the opposition Democrats.
According to Brazilian diplomatic sources US Trade Representative Susan Schwab, traveling with President Bush, will be meeting Saturday in São Paulo with Brazil's Foreign Affairs minister and chief global trade negotiator Celso Amorim.
The all-powerful São Paulo Federation of Industries, which advises the government on trade negotiations, confirmed that Ms Schwab will be meeting Friday with several members of the organization's board.
According to the São Paulo finance daily Valor, US and Brazilian businessmen are negotiating a list of industrial sectors from which they will recommend both governments the reduction or elimination of customs duties and tariffs in the framework of World Trade Organization negotiations.
US and Brazilian manufacturers are scheduled to meet next April in São Paulo to try and reach an agreement.
As leader of the G20, Brazil has had a key role in fighting for freer farm trade within the current negotiating round of the World Trade Organization.