Although a number of memorandums will be signed in various areas, the main objective of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s visit to Brazil, which begins today, is to obtain support for Russian membership in the World Trade Organization.
The Russians have been pursuing the issue since May of last year when Brazil announced its recognition of Russia as a market economy.
“The Russians were very pleased with Brazilian market economy recognition,” explains minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan,” because they are eager to be WTO members.”
Brazilian meat exporters have been trying to get the government to link support for Russian aspirations to Brazilian exports.
Russia has agreements with the US and EU for 90% of the meat it imports. Brazil and other countries get the remaining 10%, which works out to only 68,000 tons.
But the government has not linked its support, preferring to discuss the meat problem at the WTO.
The Putin visit, the first official visit by a Russian leader, comes at a moment when Brazil is seeking to diversify its exports to Russia.
Suffice it to say that 85% of Brazilian exports to Russia are meat and sugar.
Total Brazilian exports, up to August, reached US$ 1 billion, with imports at US$ 483 million.
In 2002, total bilateral trade reached US$ 2 billion. Brazil wants to raise total trade with Russia to US$ 6 billion by the year 2006.
Translator: Allen Bennett