US wheat exporters brace for drop in Brazil orders

August 19, 2014

Agrimoney, 8/19/2014

North American wheat exporters are preparing for a tumble in shipments to Brazil after the country reinstated a tariff on wheat bought in from countries outside South America, amid hopes of a bumper domestic crop.

Brazil’s foreign trade assembly, Camex, has reinstated a 10% tariff on wheat imports from outside the Mercosur trading zone, ditching a concession introduced last year after a poor domestic harvest, and a weak crop too in Argentina, the default origin of Brazilian buy-ins.

The move will likely call time on a upswell in Brazilian imports from North America, and in particular the US, which Brazil has turned to thanks to the shortfalls in local supplies.

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TEDGlobal is heading to Rio de Janeiro in 2014

June 13, 2013

Kate Torgovnick – TED, 06/12/2013

Next year, TEDGlobal will be held for the first time in Latin America — in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from October 6-10, 2014, on the beach of Copacabana. The theme for the event is, appropriately, “South!” and will be a celebration of the innovation, dynamism and creativity pouring out of South America, as well as out of the global south at large. Because fresh ideas can come from any direction.

“Rio has been beckoning TED for many years, both metaphorically and literally,” says curator Chris Anderson, explaining why we opted for this new location. “It’s at the heart of a continent bursting with fresh thinking. We’re delighted to finally be going. This conference will be ambitious, a thrilling new chapter for TED’s growing community of global souls.”

TEDGlobal Director Bruno Giussani adds, “We are proud of the conferences we’ve held in Edinburgh. As TED’s international reach has expanded, Latin America has emerged as a clear and exciting next move. Rio is not only a hub of innovation, but presents a rich history and exquisite physical setting.”

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Continental regionalism: Brazil’s prominent role in the Americas

June 4, 2013

Miriam Gomes Saraiva & Susanne Gratius – ISN, -6/04/2013

In these times of change in the shaping of a new world order, Brazil has begun to stand out for its assertive participation in international politics, where it has favoured anti-hegemonic,[1] multi-polar positions and its increasingly strong leadership in its own region. During the Lula administration from 2003 to 2010, Brazil gradually started step-by-step to shoulder the costs inherent in cooperation, governance and integration in the region.[2] At that time, the Brazilian Development Bank BNDES – with a total budget that exceeds that of the Inter-American Development Bank – began to finance infrastructure projects in South American. [3]

The election of Lula da Silva at the end of 2002 and the ensuing rise of an autonomy-oriented group in Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs cast the country’s foreign policy in a new light.[4] Diplomatic support for existing international regimes in the 1990s gave way to a proactive push towards modifying these regimes in favour of southern countries or Brazil’s particular interests, which was defined by Lima as soft revisionism.[5]

The idea of bringing other emerging or poorer southern countries on board to counterbalance the might of traditional Western powers served as the basis for the country’s international actions. While coalitions with emerging partners helped boost Brazil’s global pretensions, [6] its diplomatic efforts were geared towards bolstering its international standing independently of any other nation, with its role as a global player being firmly grounded in the ideas of autonomy and universalism that were the predominant diplomatic thinking at the time.

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Brazil should stop being self-absorbed giant

February 26, 2013

Andres Oppenheimer – The Miami Herald, 02/26/2013

Brazil, South America’s biggest country, may become a global economic super-star in the future, but it will have to stop being an inward-looking giant.

There is new evidence that, despite President Dilma Rousseff’s announcement last week that Brazil will have a record grain crop this year, the country’s huge oil discoveries, and the unique propaganda opportunity Brazil will gain from hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, recent trade trends don’t bode well for the country.

The World Bank last week published a report entitled  The Brazilian Competitiveness Cliff that shows Brazil’s exports of high-valued industrial goods aren’t doing well. It says Brazil is facing “considerable competitiveness challenges.” Translation: the country is falling behind other emerging powers.

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The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in South America

February 19, 2013

Vinod Sreeharsha – Fast Company, 02/11/2013


For catching Brazil’s ethanol industry as it stumbles. The São Carlos, Brazil-based company makes sensory and GPS software to monitor seeding and irrigation, which yields farmers a richer crop. That’s a big deal in this nation, where sugarcane–used to create ethanol–is an important part of the local economy. Last year, Enalta released a voice command product that overseves plants in real time. Net sales are expected to jump to $8 million this year, up from $1 million in 2011, after increased orders from three of Brazil’s top ethanol producers.

2_Mercado Libre

For creating the Latin American eBay, and providing locals with inspiration and sustenance. A Nielsen report last year said that at least 134,000 people in Latin America derive a main part of their income from selling on this Buenos Aires, Argentina-based e-commerce pioneer. The company continues to be the only NASDAQ-listed internet company from Argentina or Brazil, and its CEO and co-founder Marcos Galperin frequently serves as a mentor for entrepreneurs in the region. In fact, some of the region’s most notable players have grown out of MercadoLibre–including two on this list. Netshoes began by selling on the site, and MercadoLibre co-founder Hernan Kazah started Kaszek Ventures with former MercadoLibre CFO Nicolas Szekasy.

3_Prospéritas Capital Partners

For catalyzing the start-up scene in South America’s second smallest country. The Montevideo, Uruguay-based venture capital firm has already invested $11 million in early-stage Uruguayan companies in the IT, consumer web, and mobile sectors, and has had a wide range of successes: Its companies have become hot locally (like Hiddenbed, a furniture company) and have been sold abroad (like Interactive Networks, which was acquired by Mumbai-based Geodesic).

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The army blocks a truth commission

January 10, 2010

The Economist, 01/07/2010

IT IS 25 years since Brazil moved from dictatorship to democracy, but its army remains surprisingly unreformed. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was rudely reminded of this just before Christmas when he signed a decree calling for a truth commission to investigate torture, killings and disappearances during military rule between 1964 and 1985. Within 24 hours the heads of the three armed forces threatened to resign along with Nelson Jobim, the defence minister. Lula seemed quick to retreat. He was reported as saying the government would think again.

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Paraguay-Brazil energy treaty going nowhere fast

December 17, 2009

Pedro Servin – The Associated Press, 12/16/2009

It’s been nearly five months since the presidents of Brazil and Paraguay agreed on a breakthrough deal to triple Paraguay’s income from the world’s second-largest hydroelectric dam, but the money won’t be flowing anytime soon.The treaty would increase Paraguay’s income from energy generated by the Itaipu dam on the shared Parana River to $360 million, money that Paraguay’s President Fernando Lugo wants to spend on agrarian reform to benefit 300,000 landless peasant families.

It also calls for Brazil to invest in high-capacity power lines across Paraguay, creating an energy grid that could help one of South America’s poorest countries reshape its agricultural economy.The treaty, signed by Lugo and Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva on July 25, was quickly approved by Paraguay’s congress, but lawmakers in Brazil have yet to move the plan out of the first of four committees due to consider it – partly because what Brazil mostly gets from the deal is good relations with its poorer neighbor.

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Brazil Portal’s Weekend Reading Series: The Brazilian Economy

September 26, 2009

This week’s “Weekend Reading Series” is about the Brazilian Economy, Brazil-US Economic relations, and the Global Financial Crisis.

The series includes articles from a Brazilian academic journal, Brazilian Economy by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, released in September in English and also provides articles that will be presented in a conference by the Center for Integration and Development Studies in Rio de Janeiro September 25, 2009.

The first set of articles come from the September issue of Brazilian Economy, an e-publication produced by the Brazilian Institute of Economics of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (Fundação Getúlio Vargas or FGV). This issue focuses on foreign policy and Brazil’s new role in international affairs. FGV released a press release about the issue states the following:

“The relations of Brazil with the United States and the countries of South America resemble a cautious and complex political game of chess. Today, thanks to its large vibrant economy, market-oriented policies, and stable democracy, Brazil is seen as a respected interlocutor, skilled negotiator, and independent mediator, able to take shortcuts and find collaborative solutions among countries of diverse political persuasions and social backgrounds. “Having Brazil as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, with or without a veto, should be very beneficial,” suggests Victor Bulmer-Thomas in the current issue of The Brazilian Economy. In particular, “Brazil could serve as a center of development and political stability in Latin America.” But Brazil’s new role has been challenged in South America by competing political currents, such as the more radical Venezuelan-born Bolivarianism. To strengthen its role, Brazil counts on the change of views in Washington, as the Obama Administration is searching for a reliable partner at the negotiating table in a region marked by contrasts and challenges. In an interview in the same issue, Finance Minister Guido Mantega says that “because of its domestic market potential, and because inflation has been kept under control and the country’s foreign accounts were unshaken, Brazil will emerge from the global crisis stronger.” He assures us that the third quarter started with growth already at about 4%, and year-end GDP will be positive, close to 1%. In 2010 the Minister expects that real Brazilian GDP will grow 4.5% to 5%: “There’s a new world ahead.”

The articles, written by both national and foreign experts, provide a wealth of information. They include:

  • “Brazilian Institute of Economics’ Letter: ‘The Tax Burden and Our Dilemmas”
  • “Interview with Finance Minister Guido Mantega”
  • “Brazil’s New Role in International Affairs”
  • “Brazil’s Economic and Financial Indicators”

To read the September issue of Brazilian Economy, click here.


The Center for Integration and Development Studies is holding a conference this weekend in Rio de Janeiro about the “Global Economic Crisis and South America.” Although many of us will not be able to attend the event in Rio de Janeiro, we can still take advantage of what these academics have to say by reading their works. (All works in Portuguese or Spanish).

Works about Regional Integration and Brazil:

  • “América do Sul: Respostas à crise – Síntese dos estudos nacionais” by Sandra Rios e Roberto Iglesias. This work is a synthesis of the principal factors and conclusions from four studies about the impacts of the Global Economic Crisis in Argentina, Brazil, Chile Ecuador, and Peru. The work gives a picture of not only the impact, but also the macroeconomic political responses and commercial implication by the governments and their effects on commercial trade with the region and with the world. The study portrays that the types of reactions adopted impact both commercial trade and the perspectives of integration and relationships within the region. (Portuguese)
  • “Respostas de Política Econômica e Comercial à Crise Internacional: o caso do Brasil” by Sandra Rios e Roberto Iglesias. This article analyzes the political responses adopted by Brazil in order to confront the international financial crisis. The work takes into account the impacts of the crisis on Brazil’s economy and trade within South America. (Portuguese)
  • “Conclusiones sobre la economía política del regionalismo en Sudamérica” by Federico Merke. This article comments on the concept of regionalism in South America. It doesn’t attempt to make overarching explanations or limiting generalizations for a region in which there is always possibilities to find exceptions, but instead attempts to identify factors present in the region that make possible or inhibit South American regionalism. (Spanish)

There are also works about other South American countries. They are the following:

Read the rest of this entry »

Brazil’s Lula defends South America arms buildup

September 21, 2009

Marco Sibaja-Associated Press, 09/18/09

BRASILIA, Brazil — Major military weapons purchases by Brazil and Venezuela won’t spur an arms race in South America and are necessary to protect borders and natural resources, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Friday.

Silva also downplayed concerns raised this week from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that purchases planned by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez could destabilize the region.

“Venezuela is a country with huge amounts of oil and natural gas, and Chavez was the victim of a coup, so it’s normal that he is getting prepared,” Silva said in an interview with Brazil’s Radio Guaiba. Chavez was briefly ousted from power in a 2002 coup.

Brazil is on the verge of signing a multi-billion-dollar deal to buy 36 new fighter jets and has already signed a contract with France to purchase submarines and helicopters. Latin America’s largest nation also is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a program to develop a nuclear submarine.

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Unasur urges meeting with US over Colombia

August 29, 2009

Daniel Schweimler-The Financial Times,08/28/2009

A summit of South American leaders gathered in Argentina has called for a meeting with President Barack Obama to help solve a dispute over a planned US military build -up in Colombia. Unasur – the Union of South American Nations – also wants to see the details of the deal between Washington and Bogota, which would grant US troops access to seven military bases in Colombia to fight, according to the agreement, drug-trafficking and terrorism.But Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan president, told the summit in the plush ski resort of Bariloche that the plan was part of a new US military strategy.

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