Brazil's ambassador to the United States, Antonio Patriota, says that world trade talks are progressing and appear to be edging close to a deal. In Pretoria a summit of presidents from host South Africa, Brazil and India seemed to confirm expectations. "I think on the Doha round, we are extremely close to an agreement," Patriota said in a speech to the U.S.-Brazil Business Council.
Patriota said U.S. President George W. Bush and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had spoken on phone about the Doha round on Tuesday, October 16.
Patriota said he had not been briefed on that call yet, but was optimistic about the fate of the round following recent meetings between Bush and Lula at the United Nations and other high-level talks between the United States and Brazil.
"I think we have seen sufficient movement on the part of all participants to be relatively assured that we will be able to reach a satisfactory result very, very soon," Patriota said.
Brazil, as a leader of the G20 developing countries, has been pushing the United States for deep cuts in its trade-distorting farm subsidies as part of the deal. United States on the other hand has urged Brazil and other advanced developing countries such as India and South Africa to do their part by agreeing to open their agriculture and manufactured goods market to more imports.
The leaders of Brazil, India and South Africa on Wednesday held a summit meeting in South Africa and the Doha round was one of the topics on their agenda
Following the summit in Pretoria the three participants signed agreements related to health, education, green energy and customs cooperation with the purpose of further strengthen an already burgeoning relationship.
South African President Thabo Mbeki said the signing of the agreements served to "consolidate our relationship" among three leaders who all claimed to have had a meeting of minds.
"It has been a very successful session of the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) summit. It has been very much focused on achieving results … to respond to all the challenges that our countries face."
Brazilian president Lula da Silva said the three were all committed to forging "the closest possible cooperation so we can together ensure a more equitable international political and economic order".
"We need to say to our people – from South Africa, India and Brazil – that from now we can build a new model of participation in the multilateral world," added the Brazilian president.
For his part, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the talks had been "most fruitful", particularly in finding common ground on trying to break the impasse in multilateral trade liberalization talks.
"We had a very constructive discussion on the Doha round," said Singh.