The secretariat of strategic affairs in Brasília lies in a nondescript ministry building in the middle of the plano piloto — the aircraft-shaped street layout of Brazil’s modernist capital.
The job of its new minister, philosopher and Harvard law professor Roberto Mangabeira Unger, is to chart a long-term development plan for President Dilma Rousseff, whose palace lies a kilometre away in the “cockpit” of the plano piloto.
It is not an easy task. Latin America’s largest economy is suffering increased turbulence from the end of the commodities super cycle and a credit-driven consumption boom. Economists forecast the economy will shrink nearly 1.5 per cent this year. Unemployment is increasing fast.
The U.S. and Brazil pledged to work toward new commitments to reduce the impact of climate change, extolling a revived relationship during a long-delayed visit by the Brazilian leader.
Tuesday’s climate announcement marks a modest step forward in President Barack Obama’s effort to elicit agreements from world leaders in advance of a December meeting in Paris where he hopes to complete a global accord.
The countries are positioning themselves as leaders ahead of December’s UN climate change conference
The United States, China and Brazil all made new commitments to combat climate change Tuesday, in advance of a landmark United Nations conference on the issue in December.
Paulo Sotero – O Estado de S.Paulo, 6/29/2015
The relations between Brazil and the United States have been stagnated since 2011, marked by Lula’s failed attempt to mediate a nuclear agreement between Iran and the international community. President Obama tried to reenact the bilateral dialogue weeks after, as soon as President Dilma Rousseff took office, but NSA’s espionage of Rousseff was not well taken by Brazil, and relations went back to where they had been. Both governments kept emphasizing the importance of a bilateral partnership but didn’t actually do anything to enforce it.
According to the White House’s security adviser, Ben Rhodes, a “new chapter” is about to start with Rousseff’s visit to the United States this week. Rousseff’s agenda includes visits to New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco. She will be meeting with presidents of companies, and attend panels for high executive leaders in New York. In California, she will visit Google and discuss new technologies and innovation. In Washington DC, she will be meeting with President Obama to discuss commerce, investment, security and defense, regional cooperation, science and technology, and very importantly, climate issues.
The timing of the visit is also very significant for the Brazilian leader, since her approval ratings are at a record low. She needs a successful visit and U.S.’s support to push away the discredit her government currently faces. The biggest deliverable of the visit is to rebuild trust, but the biggest uncertainty is if the political drama that Rousseff is facing in Brasilia will allow her a happy ending.
Paulo Trevisani – The Wall Street Journal – 6/29/2015
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said Monday that a more business-friendly environment is needed in Latin America’s largest economy to attract the investment it needs to restore growth.
“We need to reduce the risks of doing business in Brazil,” she said in an interview in New York, as she began a visit to the U.S. aimed at drawing investors and to meet with President Barack Obama in Washington.
Her task is complicated by poor economic conditions at home. Annual inflation is running at 8.8% despite high interest rates, with the benchmark rate at 13.75%. Economists forecast an economic contraction this year. But Ms. Rousseff said Brazil still has strong fundamentals that should attract long-term investors.
Paul Kiernan – The Wall Street Journal, 6/29/2015
Brazilian state-run oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA said Monday it plans to slash investments by 37% over the next five years in an urgent effort to reduce its soaring debt load.
Petrobras expects capital spending over the 2015-19 period to total $130.3 billion, the company said in a long-delayed document outlining its five-year business plan. Petrobras’ previous five-year plan foresaw investments of $220.6 billion over the 2014-18 period.
The company also increased its goal for asset sales this year and next, saying it now expects to divest $15.1 billion in 2015-16, up from a previous target of $13.7 billion.
Mathew Carr – Bloomberg Business, 6/26/2015
Brazil, which was overtaken last year by India as the world’s biggest beef exporter, is encouraging cattle farmers to boost productivity around the Amazon rain forest as it balances environmental protection with economic production.
The nation wants to increase output at beef farms to at least 2 head-of-cattle-per-hectare from about 1.1 head, Francisco Oliveira Filho, director of policies to reduce deforestation at the Environment Ministry, said Friday in an interview in London. Such an increase will ease pressure to fell more trees, he said.
“There is space to increase the productivity of the beef sector in the Amazon region” and the 2 head-per-hectare level has been reached in some of the nation, he said. “On one side you have people that want development at any cost. On the other hand you have people trying to protect everything. We are trying to find something in between.”