Brazil and Argentina Bury the Hatchet After WTO Treaty’s Clash

Predidents Lula and Kirchner Brazil and Argentina ratified their "strategic alliance" on Monday during a business seminar opened by Presidents Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner from Argentina and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from Brazil, in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires.

"Argentina and Brazil must not see each other as competitors," said the Brazilian president on a brief visit to Argentina together with 250 businessmen from his country's leading corporations.

"Argentina-Brazil: A key productive alliance," was the logo of the seminar which convened Argentina's Industrial Union and Brazil's São Paulo Federation of Industries, the two countries main and most powerful industrial lobbies.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said both countries are going through "a very special moment of history" and praised what she described as "an unparalleled communion in the joint history of Argentina and Brazil"

Lula addressed the Argentine president as "my dear friend Cristina" and said both countries are going "through an exceptional moment" and called on the business communities of both countries to consolidate and strengthen trade and investment links.

"Brazil is the leading investor in Argentina; Brazilian corporations are committed to Argentina. That is why with President Cristina we are planning measures to ensure this virtuous relation with the creation of a sovereign fund and multiplying efforts to eliminate trade barriers to exports in the world," said Lula.

The Brazilian leader's words were also an elliptical reference to the recent Doha round talks in Geneva where a last minute agreement, patiently elaborated and accepted by Brazil on farm import safeguards, was finally frustrated by intransigence from the US and India and to everybody's surprise was supported by Argentina, making it a major embarrassment for the Mercosur block alleged unity.

The seminar was followed by sector rounds including automobiles, auto parts, capital goods, farm machinery, shoe-wear, ship building, software, chemical and petrochemical, oil and gas, public works, textiles, tourism, food, beverage, Biofuels, wood and furniture.

The purpose of the seminar is to agree on sector cooperation, production integration and developing added value to stimulate competitiveness in international markets.

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Presidents Lula and Hugo Chavez from Venezuela arrived Sunday night in Buenos Aires to meet President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and  discuss pending issues, such as trade relations between the three countries.

Brazil and Argentina have a strong bilateral trade and the two have developed a confluence of interests in foreign policy and trade affairs, both in Mercosur and in the international arena.

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana said that the Brazilian visit had a business focus, "because one of the goals is to acquire enhanced know-how and to agree on common business initiatives."

Taiana highlighted that this is a "continuation" of previous activities since "we already attended meetings (with businessmen) in Brazil and, on this occasion, the event is encouraged by Lula's visit."

The president of the Argentine Industrial Union, UIA, Juan Carlos Lascurián and FIESP (Sao Paulo's Industrial Federation), Brazil's industrial lobby boss Paulo Skap gave a speech Monday at a seminar on "Argentina-Brazil: a key productive alliance," which aims at developing bilateral businesses.

A communiqué issued on Saturday by the Industrial Union of the Province of Buenos Aires, UIPBA, said that their meeting with Brazilian businessmen aims at "conquering new markets, attracting specific investment projects and also achieving cooperation agreements."

Mercopress

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