Obama's Brazil visit to bring two countries closer: expert

12:28, March 12, 2011      

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U.S. President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to Brazil will bring the two sides closer and resolve some differences in bilateral ties, said a professor in political science at the University of Brasilia.

Obama, who is scheduled to be in Brasilia on March 19, aims to regain the ground lost in recent years amid blames saying the president has neglected Latin America since he took office two years ago, David Fleischer told Xinhua.

"He has only visited the region twice, one to participate an international meeting in Trinidad and Tobago and one to visit Mexico. Many believe Obama has more or less neglected Latin America," said Fleischer.

The visit also comes as bilateral ties suffered setbacks during the administration of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who disagreed with Washington over a number of issues.

During an interview with Washington Post in December last year, President Dilma Rousseff said she wanted the ties to be improved.

"She plans to continue South-South relations and strong relations here in South America as well. But there seems to be a new relationship evolving with the United States," Fleischer said.

"During the eight years of President Lula's government, Brazil's foreign policy had a strong ideological component. Rousseff showed signs of foreign policy reform, less ideological and less political and more pragmatic seeking economic relations," he said.

Aspiring to gain a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, Brasilia will be keen to further discuss the issue with Obama, the professor said.

On economic issues, Fleischer said both sides are expected to negotiate on the issues such as the U.S. heavy tax on imports of Brazilian ethanol and orange juice during Obama's stay.

Last month, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said during a trip to Brazil that the United States and Brazil are "fundamentally aligned" and must act together to achieve a more stable and stronger global economic system.

Considering the continuous monetary easing measures on the U.S. side as "unbalancing" their situation in terms of foreign investment and exchange rate, Brazilians will probably think twice before agreeing on an alliance in this field, Fleischer said.

The two sides will also touch on a deal to avoid double taxation, which will facilitate private investment from both countries, and a mechanism for regular bilateral political consultations.

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Once the Brazil-U.S. relations improve considerably, it will help the North American country improve ties with other countries in South America, Fleischer said.

"The United States would like very much to have closer relations with Brazil because they expect it would spill over into South America and help enhance relationships with other countries in the region," Fleischer said.

Obama will arrive in Brazil from El Salvador and will conclude his tour in Chile, where he should deliver a speech on his country's policy for Latin America.

Source: Xinhua


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