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Chancellor To Go to US To Prepare Meeting between Bolsonaro and Trump

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In an exclusive interview with the State, Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo confirmed his trip to Washington to initiate an effort of rapprochement and exchange between the regulatory agencies of Brazil and the United States

Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo travels to Washington this week to prepare for the first meeting of President Jair Bolsonaro with US President Donald Trump . In an interview with the State , the foreign minister said that he will take advantage of his stay in the US capital between the 5th and 7th of this month to initiate an effort of rapprochement and exchange between the regulatory agencies of the two countries. It’s up to the government to regulate and facilitate investment. Sometimes companies want to invest, but run into regulation, he said. We have to put the agencies in tune.

The preparation of the trip from Bolsonaro to Washington occurs as the Brazilian government intensifies its approach with Trump . Last week, Itamaraty issued a speech by Ernesto Araujo in Davos that pointed out Brazil’s support for joint action by the United States, the European Union and Japan to reverse China’s unfair competition practices in international trade, especially in the issue of subsidies, nationalization and appropriation and technology of private companies.

The minister said that Itamaraty will focus on Brazilian companies to shape the relationship not only with the United States, but with the other countries. The secret is to seek the ideas of the private sector and create platforms to facilitate their development, he said. Firms know what the bottlenecks are.

Araújo works so that the Brazilian embassies act in a greater entanglement between diplomacy and commerce, transforming themselves into positions of business of companies of the Country abroad. He intends to make a more effective integration between the embassies and consulates and the offices of the Brazilian Agency for the Promotion of Exports and Investments (Apex-Brasil). Apex is already in the Itamaraty structure, but it needs to be further integrated, he said. We will insulate the embassies in the new demands, motivate the people more to have new ideas.

Commenting on the surprise with the speeches and incisive pronouncements of the Itamaraty especially in the notes of attack on the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, the minister said that the policy lives a new moment of intersection of the country abroad and internal demands. The world is changing, we can not repeat old positions, he said. Ten years ago, certain positions made sense. They do not do it anymore. We have to push for change, for an update. 

He predicted that the incisive tone will be adopted in the disputes in the commercial fora abroad, always in a touch of business and with a Brazilian touch. We have to always be alive, talk like society, he said. We can not talk about it anymore.

Prior to the preparatory meetings in Washington, the chancellor will take part in a meeting of the Lima Group countries, created at the initiative of the Peruvian government in 2017, in Ottawa, Canada, on Monday to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis in Venezuela.

The chancellor noted that the position of the Brazilian government vis-à-vis the neighboring country’s government, with a tougher discourse, signaled Itamaraty’s willingness to adapt to a new reality. Soon afterwards, the European Union and Latin American countries took more incisive positions. We have taken a firm stand that contributed a lot to international pressure, he said. People said it was not possible to do anything. We can. It’s very transformative when you do an action that brings hope. 

In the interview, the chancellor did not hide his critical view of the routine and the often palatial style of Itamaraty. He said that it is necessary to promote boldness and encourage the creativity of the diplomatic corps to bring the institution closer to other branches of government involved in trade and job creation. One of the first measures taken by the minister was the creation of a department focused on agribusiness, which is expected to work in partnership with Agriculture, Minister Tereza Cristina. Always in tune, he made clear.

The chancellor’s incisive criticism of the predominance of multilateral agreements and even World Trade Organization (WTO) practices has at first made it uncomfortable in sectors of diplomacy. He estimated that the shock is needed at a time of even more intense competition in international forums. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo himself conceded that the chancellor spoke in the light of Brazilian interests and the need to prioritize bilateral agreements that were dropped.

At the same time as it seeks to strengthen relations with traditional markets, the chancellor evaluates changes in relations with Africa. In this case, he considered that past governments made excesses of speeches and promises. Africa is a potential market.

In some countries, we have very small embassies, which need to be strengthened. In others, no. It is necessary to identify the priorities, he said. He cited the recent opening of the Malaysian market for Brazil’s standing cattle. Let’s talk to each country, see the specific characteristics of each. Let’s be more productive, open more markets for our products.