More Than Opportunities, Brazil Wants Partnership With India

New Delhi, Jan 28: | Updated: Jan 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
Besides signing a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with Mercosur, the Latin American trading bloc, India and Brazil have signed four other agreements, which include areas ranging from peaceful use of space, tourism, culture and exemption of visa requirements for government officials.

Moreover, a memorandum of understaning (MoU) on setting up a bilateral consultation mechanism for economic, commercial and technological multilateral issues was also signed, in keeping with both countries views that the global multilateral system needs to be strengthened.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said that his trip to India had confirmed his conviction that India-Brazil relations could lead to large dividends for both countries, based on each others potentials and similarities, both politically and socially. According to Mr da Silva, both have a huge field for working politically and economically in trade and though bilateral relations were growing, they are far less than their potential.

He said that the partnerships discussed in India were aimed to promote income generation for both countries. But that would happen only if there was generation of employment. Growth of relations and partnerships with India in various areas, including science and technology, health, education etc, would not only allow both countries to sell and buy more, but would generate possibilities of employment. He said that the agreements that were signed and would be signed would facilitate economic growth in both countries, thereby increasing the current $1 billion bilateral trade to grow to their true potential.

Brazil wants to be a real partner; we are here to make investments and get investments, particularly in infrastructure. He said that he was leaving India, convinced that we have consolidated an exceptional partnership, based on the successful meetings that he and his team have had with business sector.

Praising Indian business for their sense of enterprise, he exhorted his countrymen to develop the same will and make the same kind of decisions as their Indian counterparts who have already set up a business section in Brazil. For a globalised world will not allow any country to sit back and wait for opportunities we have to make the opportunities happen.

The President said that with the PTA with Mercosur, India would gain access to not only the Mercosur countries, but also all of South America. With a population of 220 million and a GDP of almost $1 trillion, Mercosur was the fourth largest market in the world. Hence it was an extraordinary space for India to do business in. At the same time, Mercosur too would have the opportunity to do business in India as well.

Referring to the WTO talks, he said that Brazil was in favour of free trade as long as it was truly free. Our products are the victims of subsidies, especially in agriculture. So, we want to negotiate with all countries on equal terms. We want equal treatment. We dont want supremacy of one economy over any other. What we want is trade relations based on mutual respect, with equality and defence of our industry and agriculture. Thats why the G-20 and the G-3 are so important. We have to consolidate unequal countries. The Cancun agreement that created the G-20 where India had an important role together with Brazil and South Africa, the meeting in Brasilia of the G-20 countries and the creation of the G-3, all demonstrated that India, Brazil and South Africa have discovered each other as powers.

Mr da Silva said that he was convinced that the EU and US would continue to maintain their subsidies as long as they perceive that the industrialising countries have no alternative strength to counterpose the force of their subsidies. Thats why the unity amongst countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa was necessary to create a force that would be capable of making them understand that they were no longer as dependent as they were. Moreover, he said, although we respect our relations with the developed world and want to continue and enhance the same, we have also discovered that it is not even 10 per cent of the potential we have, either bilaterally, or trilaterally with South Africa.

In conclusion, the Brazilian President said he worked with the conviction, derived from his trade union days, that no one would respect you if you were submissive. If you negotiate with your head down, you can be certain that you will give in and no one will respect you.