Brazil backs South American alliance for farm exports

Matt Craze – Bloomberg Businessweek, 10/22/2010

Brazil is seeking a partnership with Argentina and other South American producers of grains and oilseeds to deal jointly with buyers in Asia and elsewhere, according to Brazilian Agriculture Minister Wagner Rossi.

Rossi met his Argentine counterpart Julian Dominguez and ministers from Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay in Santiago yesterday. Brazil is seeking to draw up “consistent” policies with its neighbors, Rossi said in an interview in Santiago.

A deal between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay would combine about half of the world’s soybean production, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Argentina and Brazil are also among the world’s top three corn exporters, according to the USDA. China is the world’s largest soybean importer.

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Political agreement for a more democratic Mercosur parliament

MercoPress, 10/20/2010

Mercosur reached a political agreement to review the composition and election of the group’s Parliament, Parlasur. Under the new system to be implemented in several years the number of seats will be increased based on proportional representation and members of Parlasur will be chosen by direct universal vote.

The agreement was announced by Uruguay’s Foreign Affairs minister Luis Almagro Monday during the Parlasur session and meeting of Mercosur chancellors held in Montevideo.

“We approved the Mercosur parliament political agreement which among other things establishes proportional representation and the need for citizens participation in the election of parliament members”, said Almagro.

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Timmerman and Amorim report to the Mercosur parliament in Montevideo

MercoPress, 10/18/2010

Argentina and Brazil’s Foreign Affairs ministers, Hector Timerman and Celso Amorim are expected Monday in Montevideo to report to the Mercosur parliament on the current situation of the regional block and future steps.

According to Argentine diplomatic sources, Minister Timerman is expected to offer the Mercosur lawmakers a review of the achievements reached while Argentina occupied the rotating chair (first half of 2010) of the group which also includes as full members, Paraguay and Uruguay, and Venezuela in the process of incorporation.

Amorim will talk about the objectives of the trade block in the second half of the year, under the chair of Brazil, and most important an update on the current round of trade negotiations with the European Union which according to last week’s statements from Brussels, a full agreement should be reached by mid 2011.

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Speakers: Innovatives policies key in maintaining growth in the Americas

Mimi Whitefield and Frances Robles – The Miami Herald, 09/15/2010

The countries of the Americas are at a crucial juncture. With economic institutions in many countries reformed and a commodities boom filling coffers, sustained economic growth is a real possibility.

But speakers at the 14th Annual Americas Conference, organized by The Miami Herald and the World Bank, said Tuesday that a prolonged period of prosperity depends on nations adopting sound government practices and innovative policies.

The conference, which is being held at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, concludes Wednesday.

Buoyed by high prices for their commodities, which helped them recover sooner than expected from the global economic crisis, the economies of the Americas are poised to grow by as much as 6 percent this year, said Augusto de la Torre, the World Bank’s chief economist for Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Seven years of progress, expansion

Celso Amorim – The Miami Herald, 09/09/2010

Seven years ago, many reacted with skepticism about the need to make changes in the world economic geography and that Brazil and other countries were ready to play a significant role in the World Trade Organization or gain permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council. Both the world and Brazil have changed quite rapidly. Developing countries have presented higher economic growth, becoming central actors in the world economy.

Greater South-South coordination — at the WTO, International Monetary Fund, United Nations and new coalitions such as the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) — have raised the voices of countries once relegated to a secondary position. The more the developing countries discuss and cooperate, the more their voices will be heard. The recent financial crisis made it clear that the world can no longer be governed by just a few.

Progress on many fronts — from macroeconomic stability to social justice — has made Brazil more stable and less unfair, changing its perception abroad. A new group of countries has increasingly earned influence in the international agenda, from climate change to trade, from finance to peace and security, and are bringing about new perspectives to global problems.

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Lula da Silva’s double challenge as Mercosur chair

MercoPress, 08/04/2010

The task must be accomplished in the last five months of his presidency, which ends next January, plus ensuring that his successor as leader of Latinamerica’s largest economy is effectively convinced of Mercosur merits.

“We must keep advancing so that Mercosur is something nobody can have doubts about: that we are convinced-friends in the construction of a political, economic, social and cultural block”, said Lula da Silva on taking the group’s chair from Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner this Tuesday.

Following on the San Juan summit success which ended with years of Mercosur frustrations and paralysis anticipating a strong customs union, Lula da Silva and his acknowledged international prestige, can now concentrate on consolidating the integration process.

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Mercosur trade bloc agrees to reduce customs fees

Associated Press, 08/03/2010

The Mercosur trade bloc agreed Tuesday on a common customs code that should speed up and reduce the cost of commerce across South America.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez announced that she and six other presidents approved the customs regulations in their closed-door meeting.

“It’s an issue we’ve been trying to resolve for a long time, and it’s an achievement for all of us,” Fernandez said, adding that it shows Mercosur is a forum for action and not just talk. “The important thing is that we have agreed on a formula and have overcome all kinds of differences.”

Mercosur has long wanted to eliminate double-taxation and related transport delays on imports that move through one member country to reach another. The common code will be phased in before fully taking effect in 2012.

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“Fantastic summit” effectively turns Mercosur into a customs union

MercoPress, 08/04/2010

Following six years of negotiations Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, Mercosur full members reached an agreement on crucial points of the Common Customs Code, besides signing a trade agreement with Egypt.

The distribution of customs revenue as well as the double charge of the common external tariff, AEC, was finally agreed helping to further integrate the block and facilitating negotiations with third parties.

The Mercosur summit also decided on commercial benefits for quake ravaged Haiti and agreed on the fundamentals for the protection of the Guaraní aquifer, considered one of the world’s largest drinking water reservoirs and which extends under the four countries of the group.

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Brazil, Peru renew commitment to regional integration

Latin American Herald Tribune, 06/17/2010

The governments of Brazil and Peru on Wednesday strengthened regional integration with the signing of bilateral accords in different areas but with an emphasis on energy.

The short presidential meeting in Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, also served to allow Brazil’s Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Peru’s Alan Garcia to renew their commitment to the development of their two countries.

“It’s been one of our most productive and most intense meetings because we discussed very concrete issues and because we’re touching on problems to resolve and (taking measures to) immediately favor our peoples,” said Garcia at a joint press conference with Lula after their meeting.

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Brazil Portal’s Weekend Reading Series: The Brazilian Economy

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.

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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.

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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:

Continue reading “Brazil Portal’s Weekend Reading Series: The Brazilian Economy”