Commercial relations with Portugal still a priority for Brazil, despite the focus on China

7 August 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 07 Aug – Economic and comercial relations with Portugal and with Europe in general remain a priority for Brazil, despite the current focus on China and major developing economies, Brazilian President Lula da Silva stated in an interview published Saturday by the Portuguese weekly Expresso.

Brazil’s “exchanges with Europe continue to increase, and there is a lot of room for growth in trade and goods and services, as well as investment, especially at a time when the country’s external trade is extremely active and a new phase of infrastructure projects is beginning,” Lula da Silva told Expresso.

This is so “despite more dynamic growth in trade flows with developing countries,” particularly India, China and South Africa, he said.

These three countries and the major developing economies are “one of the priorities of (Brazilian) foreign policy,” though this “is not an exclusive project,” he added.

“The fact that we are seeking new partnerships and opportunities does not mean we are putting aside our traditional relations with Portugal and the other European countries,” said Lula, who is running this year for a second term as president of Brazil.

“Enhanced economic ties” with Portugal were a priority during the last three and a half years of his term, Lula stated, adding that “the increased presence of Brazilian firms in Portugal indicates the ample opportunities to build partnerships and common projects.”

The Prime Minister of Portugal visits Brazil this week, following Lula’s trip to Lisbon in May.

In the interview published by the Portuguese newspaper, Lula da Silva reviewed some of the country’s main “conquests” in macroeconomic terms, such as payment of the debt to the International Monetary Fund, increased exports and controled inflation. “The path to follow has been set,” he concluded.

“There already are, and the next four years will see more huge investments in physical and energy infrastructures and in modernisation of our production capacity,” Lula said.

The Brazilian president also called attention to the programs aiming to boost the microeconomy, stating that controled inflation “opened the way to lowering interest rates, which had for so long made financial speculation more profitable than productive investment.”

For Lula, “the Brazil of today has progressed a great deal economically and socially since 2003 (when he was elected). The country of the blackout in 2001-2002 now has guaranteed energy security.” (macauhub)