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lunching with the brazilian ambassador

Monday 23 May, 2011

Had lunch with Mauro Vieira, Ambassador of Brazil to the United States & other members of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs @ BRAZIL AND THE UNITED STATES: BILATERAL PARTNERSHIP AND GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES where he shed some light on Brazil’s perspective on inter-American relations.  Pres. Barack Obama stressed on his recent trip to Brazil, the country’s rise to 7th largest GDP ($2.1TR) in the world with 7.5% growth, & recognized that our partnership has become deep & intense.   The U.S. is Brazil’s #2 trading partner with $58B of $383B in international trade.  Brazil received $10B of it’s $48B in foreign direct investment (fdi) from the U.S., while Brazil has a total stock of $16B of fdi in the U.S., $3.9B of which came last year.  Exports to Brazil support 250K jobs in the U.S., while exports to the U.S. support 120K jobs in Brazil.  Brazil grew so much the last 15 years as a result of the imposition of social justice, which created 14B jobs & raised wages 42%.  24M were lifted out of poverty as 30M joined the middle class as GDP/per capita rose 80%.   The 2008 financial crisis was a turning point which caused the emergence of closer involvement of the emerging markets.  Obama supports an expansion of the UN  Security Council (I assume to include Brazil), & Brazil is now producing oil, of which Obama wants the U.S. to become 1 of Brazil’s best customers.  Brazil & the U.S. have come to many agreements on trade & economic cooperation, aviation-open skies, & cooperation on education & innovation.   They signed a peaceful use of outer space agreement which will allow the U.S. to launch space ships from northern Brazil.  Dilma Roussef wants more Brazilian students studying the hard sciences in the U.S. while Barack promised to increase the number of Latin American students to 100K in the U.S.  Earlier that day a US-Midwest Brazil Business group was launched.

Q&A

  • The middle class has grown to become 53% of Brazil’s population.
  • Lula & Turkey built confidence with those who weren’t talking to Iran.  Dilma stands ready to contribute in the future.
  • Brazil has lots of legislation, programs, & multilateral fora to fight violence, police excess, & human rights violations.  They favor general overview actions rather than specifics in fighting these problems.
  • Trade is important (exports=25% of GDP) to Brazil.  China is their #1 trading partner.  Bureaucracy & corruption are not impediments to foreign trade, as there is no pattern to discern in either.  They want better regulations & legislative control.
  • Hillary Clinton was interested in the bilateral agreement against racism 3-4 years ago, which it is assumed will be discussed @ an upcoming meeting in Minas Gerais in June.
  • Brazil thrived during the financial crisis because the government took quick action on stimulative VAT consumption taxes, which were reduced to 0 for popular cars & home appliances.  The President went on T.V. & said “Continue to work & spend.”  The government also built houses.
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