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Brazilian president defends Mercosur-EU trade agreement

June 30th, 2010

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Tuesday that a free trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union, which is being negotiated in Buenos Aires, should expand to investment opportunities, encompassing more than only tariffs and subsidies.

Speaking at a Brazil-Italy forum, which Lula and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi both addressed, in Sao Paulo, Lula said an agreement between the two blocs would be the best way to deal with the global economic crisis.

“We are noting the commitment of both blocks to win competitive scales and multiply investment opportunities. We are also joining forces in defense of a fairer global order,” he said.

Talks between the two blocks were interrupted when stalled in 2004 due to resistance to make further concessions at the farm level, on the European side, and in the industrial sector, on the South American side.

Referring to the G20 summit that took place last weekend in Toronto,Canada, Lula said the measures to restructure European economies should be accompanied by growth.

The Brazilian president did not attend the summit to oversee relief efforts to help victims of flooding in Brazil’s northeast region.

“The Brazilian experience leaves no room for doubt. Recessionary policies do not address macroeconomic imbalances. On the contrary, they aggravate unemployment and social inequalities,” he said.

The Brazilian leader highlighted the opportunities for European businesses with the 2014 Brazil World Cup and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, in addition to infrastructure projects of the Program to Accelerate Growth.

“The international crisis reinforced the crucial role of emerging and developing countries. Italy will find in Brazil a strong and safe alternative against future shocks,” he stressed.

For his part, Berlusconi praised the Brazilian government’s economic policy.

During the meeting, the leaders avoided dealing with the case of former Italian left-wing activist Cesare Battisti, who received political asylum in early 2009 from the Brazilian government, causing great tension between Rome and Brasilia last year.

Source: Xinhua

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