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New Brazil FM lays out key foreign policy guidelines
May 19, 2016, 5:26 am

Senator José Serra (affiliated with the São Paulo chapter of party PSDB) took office as the Brazilian minister of Foreign Relations on 18 May 2016 [Image: Itamaraty, Brazil]

Senator José Serra assumes office as the Brazilian minister of Foreign Relations on 18 May 2016 [Image: Itamaraty, Brazil]

Brazil’s new Foreign Minister Jose Serra on Wednesday reiterated his country’s priority in developing ties with BRICS members, China and India even as the new government signalled shifts in its foreign policy.

Serra, a member of interim Brazilian President Michel Temer’s new cabinet, outlined the government’s key foreign policy guidelines in his speech on Wednesday at the Brazilian Foreign Ministry seat Itamaraty, in Brasília.

“Relations with new partners in Asia, especially China, this great economic phenomenon of the 21st century, and India, will be a priority,” said Serra.

Since 2009, China has been Brazil’s top trade partner and one of its leading foreign investors.

After Serra was appointed to Temer’s cabinet on Thursday, he met with Brazilian Ambassador to China Roberto Jaguaribe. They spoke about the embassy’s efforts to attract more Chinese foreign direct investment in fundamental sectors of the economy.

“Roberto is working to court Chinese capital to Brazil to invest along with Brazil’s government in infrastructure works. That effort will be intensified, I’m certain,” said Serra.

The new Foreign Minister also said the ministry will focus on bilateral trade treaties, reducing its dependence on the WTO.

“Brazil will no longer restrict its freedom and the breadth of its initiatives for an exclusive, paralyzing adhesion to multilateral efforts within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as was the case since the past decade, to the detriment of the country’s own interests,” the new foreign minister said.

As long as Brazil “clings” to this multilateral effort, it will remain a bystander as “bilateral free-trade agreements multiply”, Serra warned.

“The multilateralism that hasn’t come to pass has detracted from the bilateralism that thrived around the world,” he added.

Boosting trade and diplomatic ties with longtime partners the United States, the European Union and Japan, which in recent years took a back seat to regional integration and multilateral forums, does not run counter to Brazil’s push to forge ties with new partners, said Serra.

“A country the size of Brazil does not choose or refuse alliances, it actively pursues them all, driven by its national interests,” said Serra.

“We are also going to take advantage of the opportunities offered by inter-regional forums with other developing countries, such as BRICS, to speed up trade exchange and investment, and share experiences,” added Serra.

Serra was echoed by Senator Helio Jose.

“We all expect the Brazilian economy to regain growth. China is a member country of the BRICS group, which also includes other emerging countries like Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa. A return to normalcy will help us attract investment from these countries,” Senator Helio Jose told Chinese agency Xinhua, adding that as a BRICS member, Brazil has some reliable partners to count on.

“The Temer government will maintain good ties with other BRICS countries. China is a most important economic body of the world, with a lot of investment in Brazil. Brazil is very much interested in enhancing its trade with China,” said Jose.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the new Foreign Minister also said that ties with Africa will be “partnerships of the present and the future” and not based on “fraternal ties from the past”.

Remarking on the previous administration’s championing on South-South cooperation, Serra said that would continue to be an “essential guideline” of Brazilian foreign policy.

“But we mean the correct South-South strategy, not the one that was once put into effect for advertising purposes, scarce economic benefits and major diplomatic investments”, he said.

Brazil will “not follow the conveniences and ideological preferences of a political party and its allies abroad any more”, the new Minister warned while stressing that it will aim to defend defense of democracy, liberties and human rights in any country and political regime, as established in international treaties.

TBP and Agencies

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3 Responses to New Brazil FM lays out key foreign policy guidelines

  1. JOHN C DURHAM Reply

    May 19, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Astonishing. One must wonder in what areas of Brazil’s life the new administration can use to dramatically prove it loyalty to the U.S. gang. Certainly, the most important policy of government is with foreign trade. Having made such a logical, correct, important and helpful policy decision, any irrational direction which binds Brazil down by adopting harmful economic decisions will be perceived by most functioning brains as a contradiction.

  2. sixpack Reply

    May 20, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    In other words, Rousseff is not actually done yet, so we’d better stick to the old plan until she is gone for good…THEN we can do what we want.

    • wes c Reply

      May 22, 2016 at 2:45 am

      Or at least until the Olympic’s are over.

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