Washington — President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff have announced that the two largest democracies and economies in the Western Hemisphere are broadening and deepening their relationship.
Rousseff, with her predecessor President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has moved Brazil forward “embarking on an extraordinary growth path, lifting millions of people out of poverty and becoming not only a leading voice in the region, but also a leading voice in the world,” President Obama said in Washington April 9.
When Obama visited Brazil a year ago, the U.S. and Brazilian governments said they would build their burgeoning partnership on three “dialogues”: 1) economics and trade, 2) energy and 3) global cooperation. During Rousseff’s first official visit to Washington April 9, the two leaders added a fourth dialogue: defense cooperation.
The first session of the U.S.-Brazil Defense Cooperation Dialogue meets in Brasilia April 24. It will be a forum for “identifying opportunities for collaboration on defense issues around the globe,” according to the joint statement released by the U.S. and Brazilian presidents.
The two countries have common interests in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, strengthening the safety of nuclear facilities and fostering the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, the joint statement said.
Rousseff said Brazil values the opportunity to work strategically with the United States in developing all forms of energy: oil and gas, biofuels, and renewables such as wind and solar. She said Brazil, a leading producer of ethanol, welcomes the recent reduction of the tariff on ethanol by the United States.
She said Brazil’s Science Without Borders program, which involves sending 100,000 Brazilian scientists to the best universities around the world, has received a warm welcome from the United States. The U.S. and Brazilian “business communities, members of academia and governments have a high role to perform” in making this program work, she said. Brazil wants to see half of the Science Without Borders students study in the United States.
The Obama administration has an ambitious program of its own for academic exchanges between the United States and its neighbors in the hemisphere: 100,000 Strong in the Americas. The United States plans to bring 100,000 students from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States and to send 100,000 U.S. students in the opposite direction by 2020.
Rousseff urged the United States to keep in mind the effect of its monetary and fiscal policies on the value of the dollar in foreign exchange markets so that emerging economies, such as Brazil’s, are not harmed. She said if Brazil were forced to depreciate the value of its currency, its economic growth would be impaired.
The Obama administration is broadening and deepening its partnership with Brazil because, with its thriving democracy and market economy, the South American giant is exercising a growing role in regional and global affairs. Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota said his country has important assets in global peace initiatives because it is devoid of weapons of mass destruction and it pursues policies based on dialogue and tolerance.