Exclusive – A new perspective for Brazilian Diplomacy

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EXCLUSIVO – A nova perspectiva do Itamaraty Link

The Editor

Pedro Paulo Rezende
DefesaNet Exclusive

Renewing relations with the United States is part of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff’s and her diplomats’ plans. Ties with Washington have been going on for a long time, along with a natural strategic partnership between both countries, until that partnership was shaken by the recent developments of American foreign policy towards Brazil. In the last few years, Washington lost room as an economical partner, compared to China and its tempting offers.
Rekindling the romance with Washington once again aims, at first, to broaden commercial trade, which is going well, by the way. Due to structural issues, Argentina is becoming less and less active inside the Mercosul alliance and favours trade with China instead, since de Asian giant is the only superpower willing to provide financial aid to Buenos Aires. This only reinforces the need for closer relations between Brazil, the US and the Pacific Alliance nations. However, the Republican majority at the American Senate may threaten Obama’s and Rousseff’s plans.
Obama was one of the first national leaders to make a phone call and greet the Brazilian president after her reelection. During the call, the U.S. president reaffirmed the invitation for the Brazilian leader to visit Washington. Rousseff replied it would not be possible, since there are urgent internal affairs to be dealt with, such as planning countermeasures against inflation, and addressing charges of corruption and mismanagement at state-run oil company Petrobras.

Aircrafts and spies
The United States are the main buyers of high-tech Brazilian products, mostly commercial aircrafts manufactured by Embraer. In the last five years, there has been a 11,3% raise in the bilateral trade flow – from US$ 53,1 billion to US$ 59,1 billion. The U.S is still the country with most foreign direct investment (FDI) in Brazil.
In spite of the healthy trade dynamics between Brasilia and Washington, there are some fences that still need mending. The Brazilian discomfort remains regarding the American Senate decision to cancel the acquisition of a second batch of EMB-314 Super Tucano aircrafts for the Afghanistan Air Force, as well as the intrusive presence of the National Security Agency (NSA) in Brazilian internet traffic.

The American government insists that NSA surveillance did not extend the limits of international law, and the agency only scrutinized electronic mail related to terrorist groups and criminal organizations that threaten homeland security. According to studies conducted in Brazil, NSA investigated strategic defense projects of the Brazilian government, as well as energy production projects and data about ore reserves, which could benefit American companies taking part in potential public tenders.

European Union and South-South relations
Brazil also plans to expand trade with the EE.UU – it could happen by means of a bilateral agreement or in a Mercosul level. Relations with Germany, for instance, are going well, and Chancellor Angela Merkel is in good terms with President Dilma Rousseff. But having Europe in our sights doesn’t mean leaving behind the effort to engage with other developing countries, which has always displeased the more conservative parties. It is part of the International Relations Ministry’s strategy to move forward with the formalization of two blocs – the Union of South-American Nations (UNASUL) and the BRICS. The Itamaraty is investing in these two organizations to create some sort of balance to the current global order sustained by the United States and Europe. To achieve that, Brazilian diplomacy needs USAN to beef up, and for the BRICS to become a proper institution, with a general-office and formal bureaucracy. The common bank created by the group is an important step towards this goal, but there’s still a lot to be done.

Special attention to the BRICS
Brazilian officials also want to expand cooperation with China, India and Russia. There has been an overall high satisfaction level with the results of recent meetings between president Rousseff and Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jiping. However, there are still issues to be worked out, such as plans between Brazil and Russia for technology transfer for civilian nuclear power plants.
A particularly promising area for cooperation is railroads. Both China and Russia have a profound know-how that can be transferred to Brazil, who suffers the impacts of a centralized cargo transport system. In exchange, Brazilians can provide food security for both China and the Russian Federation. For instance, any surplus favoring Russia could be compensated with more imports from Brazil or joint development of hi-tech products.
These technology items might include supercomputers, servers and high-capacity routers for a closed network operated by the Brazilian government. Other interesting  partnerships with Moscow are nuclear projects for power plants and medical use, manufacturing and launching satellites, and military equipment according to our Armed Forces demands and that could, at the same time, become available for the Latin-American market.
Brazilian authorities are especially thrilled to have China’s cooperation in terms of oil and gas industry, and electric energy. For its part, Brazil can provide deep-water drilling technology, developed for the Pre-Salt oil fields, as well as research to make schist bitumen exploration feasible. Both countries have great amounts of the material, which has no viable economical use yet. The current exploration method of water injection, developed and used by the United States, causes heavy enviromental damage to groundwater, one of Brazil’s most precious natural resources. China, on the other hand, already deals with severe water pollution and needs to reverse the situation.
Negotiations are already underway between Beijing and Brasilia regarding funds for the exploration of radioactive minerals, such as thorium and uranium, as well as the construction of small power plants for cities below 1 million people. Both countries also consider building aeolic and ocean tide powered plants in the Brazilian north-eastern region.
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