Friday, October 10, 2003

Brazil wants more trade, envoy says


It's 'the giant of S. America'

By Randy Tucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

U.S. business and government leaders who perceive Brazil as a small Latin American country whose main export is coffee are gravely mistaken and could be missing lucrative opportunities.

That was the message delivered by Rubens Antonio Barbosa, Brazilian ambassador to the United States, at a news conference Thursday at the Queen City Club in downtown Cincinnati.

The ambassador pointed out that Brazil, with a population of about 175 million, accounts for about 40 percent of the population of Latin America and has a gross domestic product closing in on $1 trillion annually.

And while commodities, such as coffee, are a major export, the country also has a large manufacturing base and makes everything from light bulbs to airplane parts.

"Brazil is the giant of South America,'' Barbosa said. "And foreign trade is the top priority of our new government."

Barbosa was keynote speaker for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cincinnati Annual Dinner Gala at the Millennium Hotel downtown.

The United States is already Brazil's largest trading partner. But there is plenty of room for growth, Barbosa said, and Brazil welcomes foreign investment despite a standoff with the United States over a Free Trade Area of the Americas.

While the U.S. is pushing for a comprehensive agreement, Brazil wants to exclude some activity.

"This is not the end of the world,'' Barbosa said. "It's normal to have these differences when both sides are negotiating to protect their own interests."

E-mail rtucker@enquirer .com



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