Rio de Janeiro – Brazil and China have agreed to pay for trade transactions in local currencies (the real and the yuan or renminbi). The currency swap agreement will be backed by $30 billion (R$60 billion or 190 billion yuans).
In 2011, bilateral trade between Brazil and China was worth $84.5 billion, with a surplus for Brazil.
The agreement was reached yesterday, Thursday, June 21, at Rio+20, during a bilateral meeting between president Dilma Rousseff and the Chinese prime minister, Wen Jiabao. According to Brazil’s minister of Finance, Guido Mantega, final details will be worked out and a formal agreement signed next week.
China has become Brazil’s biggest trade partner, surpassing the United States. Mantega said the reason for the local currency agreement is to shield the two countries from the international economic crisis, allowing them to withdraw funds for reciprocal investments. Mantega pointed out that as a further worsening of the global crisis could alter the availability of commercial credit, with the agreement both Brazil and China will have more transaction security as they will be able to count on a reserve in local currencies. Mantega went on to call the agreement a precautionary move, a hedge, against a more aggravated crisis. The minister described the Brazil-China deal as taking place against a backdrop of a “stressed” world economy.
The minister also revealed that similar currency swap agreements (“crédito recíproco”) were under study with all the members of the BRICS group of nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). “First, China. After we have worked out the configuration of the reserve fund, will we expand to include the others,” said the minister, adding that the BRICS reserve funds add up to $4.5 trillion.
“We are acting taking into consideration that developed nations are in crisis and that the world’s most dynamic economies are in emerging countries, the BRICS, and it is necessary to share the dynamics. The BRICS are a partnership that is working out precisely because they are countries that are growing dynamically,” said Mantega.
The minister of Finance explained that Brazil saw an opportunity to “open doors” in China when the markets in Europe and the United States slowed down due to the crisis.
Although Brazil’s exports to China are mostly commodities, Mantega sees a chance to sell more manufactured goods. “The scenario is different. The situation in Europe has gotten worse and markets are stalled. This makes it more attractive to do business with Brazil. Advanced countries are being left behind and emerging nations are moving ahead,” concluded the minister.
Brasília – President Dilma Rousseff sent a message to the new president of France, François Hollande, congratulating him on his victory and expressing the belief that both of them share positions with regard to the international crisis that will enable them to work together to reverse austerity policies.
“I am certain we share positions that will allow us to work together in international forums, such as the G-20, to make changes to the recession-causing policies that prevail today and that were so unfortunate for Latin American countries in the past,” said the president’s note.
Dilma added that she followed Hollande’s campaign with interest, especially his proposals to deal with the crisis through policies that boost growth, jobs, inclusion and social justice. She concluded by expressing interest in continuing cooperation between Brazil and France and invited Hollande to the Rio+20 conference.
Brasília – The business of America is business, goes the saying, and as Brazilians are interested in doing business, bring them on. At least make it easier for them to come.
The number of Brazilians traveling to the US is smaller only than visitors from such traditional frontrunners as Canada, Europe and Japan.
Here are some numbers from 2011: Canadians (21 million) and Mexicans (13 million), United Kingdom |(3.8 million), Japan (3.2 million) and Germany (1.8 million). Those are the countries that led the list of visitors to the US, but significantly, except for Canada and Germany (both up 5%), the number of visitors was actually down for Mexico, the United Kingdom (both down less than 1%, but down) and Japan (the crisis and the tsunami resulted in a sharp decline of 4% in the number of Japanese visitors to the US in 2011).
Against this background, Brazil is statistically and significantly unique. In sixth place on the list of visitors to the US with 1.5 million, the number of Brazilians traveling to the US was up a whooping 25% in 2011 – in spite of all the crises and tsunamis.
That caught somebody’s eye in Washington. First, the State Department announced it was opening two more consulate offices (Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre). Now comes news that the visa process will be streamlined and less expensive for Brazilians.
Beginning on April 30, the cost of a visa will fall from R$360 to R$280 (around $160). And on May 7 new visa facilitation centers (separate from the embassy and consulates) will open in Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo where information will be collected and processed before interviews at the embassy and consulates when they are necessary. The State Department also announced that, although it will take time, work is underway to eliminate the need for Brazilians to get visas.
All these changes were negotiated and are being announced just after the visit of president Dilma Rousseff to Washington at the beginning of April.
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English – content modified
Newark, NJ – April 18, 2012 – Mayor Cory A. Booker, East Ward Council Member Augusto Amador, Brick City Development Corporation (BCDC) CEO Lyneir Richardson, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Senior Vice President for Research & Development Dr. Donald H. Sebastian, NJ U.S. Export Assistance Center Senior International Trade Specialist Susan Widmer and Portuguese American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey President Pedro Belo welcomed Ambassador of Portugal to the U.S. Nuno Brito and U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Allan J. Katz to the City of Newark during the “Doing Business in NJ Symposium,” which was held on Monday, April 16, at the NJIT Student Center Atrium. Newark, Miami, and New York City, are the only three cities in the nation selected to host the U.S./Portugal Business Development Trade Mission, which is taking place between now and April 20. Newark is the second stop of the mission.
“Newark’s Portuguese community has a long and profound history as a source of our City’s economic and cultural strength and diversity. Our strong and trusted trade relations with Portugal have made Newark a center for exports and imports with this great country. In visiting our beloved City, this trade mission is renewing and strengthening long-standing ties between Newark and Portugal – and at the same time learning about Newark’s achievements and increasing importance as a center for international business,” Mayor Booker said.
Ambassador Brito said, “We deeply value the cooperation with different levels of the U.S. Government, at federal, state and municipal levels alike, and we believe this Business Development Trade Mission is a great opportunity for the promotion of mutual and increased business ties, for both the Portuguese and American companies.”
During their visit to Newark, the Portuguese delegation was able to attend a networking luncheon at Casa Seabra and tour a local successful business, Vieira’s Bakery, which has been delivering and baking Portuguese-style bread in New Jersey since it first opened in 1974. Today, Vieira’s Bakery produces over 45,000 rolls annually in its state-of-the-art 100,000 square foot facility.
“I think this is an excellent opportunity for investment to come to the City of Newark and as a result, tackle the issue of unemployment in the City. The reason why we were so excited about Newark being involved in this tour is because Newark should serve as a port of entry for investment in the United States. Add that to the fact that Newark has a very strong Portuguese-American community, and we have the perfect target market to attract investments from the major corporations in Portugal. Business attraction was the intent of the trip, as it was organized by our Ambassador in Lisbon.. They were very excited about the opportunities in Newark and in New Jersey. The types of incentives were new to them, and they were very surprised in a positive way about the opportunities they could have available to maximize their business,” Council Member Amador said.
The Portuguese community of Newark has been one of the City’s greatest strengths for decades. Newark has more than 16,000 residents of Portuguese ancestry and 6,000 of Brazilian ancestry, making Newark a national center for Portuguese culture with generations of community servants and activists, educators, business leaders, and artists. Newark’s Portuguese population is centered in the East Ward’s Ironbound neighborhood, which is noted for its Portuguese-owned businesses — restaurants, cafes, bakeries, jewelers, sports clubs, grocery stores, and more — that line up on and near Ferry Street. In particular, this neighborhood is often visited by both Portuguese and non-Portuguese for its many well-known Portuguese, Spanish, and Brazilian restaurants. Additionally, the Ironbound has a vivacious night life and an increasing variety of bars and cocktail lounges.
“The Portuguese American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey was incorporated in 2003 as a non-profit organization, to foster economic prosperity to all its members. Through partnerships with several organizations and the scheduling of special purpose events, PACCNJ promotes the interests of its members and the communities it serves. Bilateral events, in particular with Portuguese-based trade missions, like the one currently taking place in Newark, has been on top of PACCNJ agenda, putting our members at the forefront of any business ventures and opportunities in New Jersey,” said PACCNJ President Belo.
“BCDC works everyday to attract businesses to the City of Newark and welcomes the Portuguese delegation and Portuguese companies to our City. We look forward to exploring possible opportunities for these companies to establish a presence here and join Luso-Americano, Teixeira’s Bakery, Triunfo Foods and other companies who have made Newark, New Jersey their home,” said BCDC CEO Richardson.
The International Trade Administration (ITA) recently announced new data that show New Jersey merchandise exports increased 19% in 2011 compared to 2010, growing from $32.2 billion to $38.2 billion. This percentage growth topped the 16% national average for merchandise export growth for the same period.
New Jersey’s 2011 merchandise export sales increased to many top destinations, including the Netherlands (up 84 %), Brazil (81%), Turkey (46%), Mexico (39%), and China (34%). Key merchandise export categories include: chemicals, petroleum products, computer and electronic products, transportation equipment, and primary metal manufactures.
“New Jersey exporters continue to sell some of the most innovative products and services to world destinations, advancing President Obama’s National Export Initiative that is on pace to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. Eighty-five percent of world economic growth over the next five years will take place outside of the United States. As the U.S. economy builds momentum, we must continue to equip U.S. businesses with all the necessary tools to increase exports that support millions of high-paying jobs across the country,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Undersecretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez in a statement.
To further expand the reach and availability of export programs to businesses nationwide, the ITA has signed a Memorandum of Intent with the State International Development Organizations, Inc. (SIDO). SIDO supports state international trade agencies, and the memorandum expands cooperative efforts in the promotion of federal and state export programs such as trade missions and overseas business matchmaking services.
With more than 100 offices across the United States and in American Embassies and Consulates in nearly 80 countries, the ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service connects U.S. companies with international buyers through export counselling and a variety of export services. In 2011, the worldwide U.S. Commercial Service helped U.S. businesses facilitate 14,200 export successes worth $55 billion in U.S. export sales. Companies interested in getting started should contact their local office in Newark at (973) 567-0670 or visit www.export.gov/NewJersey.
“Many New Jersey businesses are finding that emerging markets around the world offer some of the best opportunities for making new sales, and are adjusting their export strategies accordingly,” said Ms.Widmer. “One of the most important aspects of exporting is that it helps firms to diversify their portfolios and withstand downturns in the domestic economy, and that’s good for business. We’d like to help you realize your export potential.”
Sponsors of the U.S. / Portugal Business Development Trade Mission’s visit to Newark are Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster, PSE&G, NJIT, and Investors Savings Bank.
For more information about the impact of exports on individual states, please visit the Office of Trade and Industry Information’s web page at www.trade.gov/mas/ian.
For information about any City of Newark program or policy, contact the Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.
Brasília – President Dilma Rousseff traveled to Colômbia on Friday for a weekend summit with most of the other Western hemisphere leaders. Most, but not all. The presidents of Bolivia, Evo Morales, and Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, along with Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Rafael Correa of Ecuador all threatened to boycott the meeting because Cuba was excluded.
However, only Correa and Ortega really stayed at home because of Cuba. And then, at the last moment, Chavez of Venezuela decided not to make the trip because of health problems and he was joined by the president of Haiti, Michel Martelly, who was also ill.
The fact is that the United States insists that Cuba be excluded (some shortcomings in the area of human rights and democratic governance) but almost all nations in the Americas now agree with the Brazilian position, which is that the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed on the island nations since 1962 has long outlasted whatever use it had and should be lifted. Then Cuba should be allowed to return to what is, after all, the Summit of the Americas. In fact the catchphrase of this summit has become: “The last one without Cuba.”
Last week, on her visit to Washington, Dilma was asked how Obama responded when she told him that the 6th Summit of the Americas would be the last summit without Cuba and she replied that he did not say anything because “…it was not a question.”
The agenda at the summit includes commerce, integration of electricity grids, information technology and disaster prevention. Interestingly, the United States insists on discussing the drug war that most of Latin America considers a failure. Running counter to the America position, there is a movement underway in the region toward decriminalization or even legalizing drugs as a solution. Ex-presidents, such as Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazil), Vicente Fox and Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico), along with Cesar Gaviria (Colombia) have publicly come out in favor of a new approach to dealing with the narcotraffic problem. At the summit, the president of Guatemala, Perez Molina, will make an appeal for legalization. His country, in Central America, is at the crossroads of traffic in drugs, arms and even human beings.
Dilma will have a private meeting with the host, Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia. The two neighboring countries have worked together in operations to rescue hostages of the Farc and are interested in border security, commerce and integration.
Security in a larger, continental sense, will be discussed at length at the summit. There is growing concern with the expansion of drug and arms traffic. Another worrisome event is the installation of American military bases in Colombia that has divided opinion in the region as there are fears of US interference in the domestic affairs of neighboring nations.
Argentina will also insist on a discuss of the Malvinas/Falklands crisis.
The presidents will also discuss joint efforts to deal with social inclusion and poverty. Dilma will mention programs implemented in Brazil and their importance in Brazilian government policy. She will emphasize that combating poverty will be on the agenda at the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Conference in June in Rio de Janeiro.
The second most powerful person in the western hemisphere arrived in Washington on Monday. But the most powerful one spent most of the day rolling Easter eggs on the South Lawn.
Dilma Rousseff, the Brazilian president, leads an economy larger than Britain's, commands an ocean's worth of oil, and enjoys a 77% approval rating her American counterpart can only fantasise about. ((Everybody but Barack Obama wanted to see her this week)). She arrived to the accompaniment of a half-dozen op-eds from professors and thinktank bosses, all of them extolling her economic stewardship and begging DC to take her seriously. The presidents of Harvard and MIT (both women, for what it's worth) invited her up to Boston. Even the US chamber of commerce put out the bunting – surely the first time the big bad business group has been so excited to meet a former Marxist guerrilla. Only Obama shrugged.
The two presidents had a short meeting and a shorter press bilateral, during which they never looked each other in the eye. About the only boost to bilateral ties that came out of their confab was a deal to promote the importation of cachaça – wonderful news for caipirinha drinkers, sure, but not exactly an agreement of world-historical importance. Not only did the US president not bother with the trappings of a state visit; he barely gave Dilma two hours. "Obama could have taken her to dinner," one Brazilian official groused. "Or to the Kennedy Center."
The leaders of India and China get pomp and circumstance when they come to town. Vladimir Putin is a big enough operator that Sarah Palin blessedly keeps watch on his nation from her house. But Brazil is the Brics country that gets no respect, even in 2012. We still speak of it as a basket case, which would be patronising even if our own country weren't in the grips of a rejectionist Congress and a politically motivated supreme court. Yet of all the big emerging economies – a ridiculous phrase now that they have already emerged, while our own and Europe's seem to be receding into nothingness – Brazil is the one that poses the least significant geopolitical threat and offers the most advantages, as all those salivating CEOs already know.
So why did Obama, who has already demonstrated his prowess as a salsa dancer, decline to put a little samba in his step as well? It's tempting to imagine that, in an election year, the White House was reluctant to spotlight a much more successful economy than our own, where massive growth and reduced inequality go hand in hand. But I'm afraid the real reason is simpler: with respect to the boardroom optimists advocating some grand inter-American compact, this is just how Washington does business. In history class, the first lesson students learn about American foreign policy is the Monroe Doctrine – the 200-year-old principle that Latin America is our turf. We do what we like and tell everyone else to keep out. The idea that a Latin American country could actually serve as a model is beyond our comprehension. Now, for the first time, a second major power is rising on the block, but among us gringos the old big-stick habits die hard.
More and more, alas, the US looks like it is conducting a Norma Desmond foreign policy: hallucinating that it hasn't aged and withered, unable to accept that the world is changing and that its powers are in decline. Voters seem to know full well that the days of uncontested American supremacy have come and gone, which makes it all the more pitiful that our government still can't accept the altered state of things.
That stood out particularly this week, and on the substance of Dilma's visit as much as the optics. One goal that almost everyone agrees on is an end to requiring visas for visiting Brazilians – though on the evidence of the throngs of lusophones I saw descend on a Miami shopping mall last month, that's not enough to keep them away. (Brazilians spend the most tourist dollars per capita in the US, splashing out $5,000 a visitor.) Yet the White House announced on Monday that the visa rules are staying in place, and tried to celebrate that it takes "only" 35 days to get a sticker in your passport from the São Paulo consulate.
A bill has been proposed to relax the rules. It is stuck in the Senate. The fear, naturally, is illegal immigration. Which shows just how behind the times the US remains: as if any Brazilian these days would come to America for a job.
Yamandu Costa was born in Brazil, where he began his guitar studies with his father when he was 7 years old. Later, he perfected his technique with Argentine virtuoso Lúcio Yanel. Until the age of 15, Yamandu's only music school was the folk music he heard from the south of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. He eventually began to study the music of renowned Brazilian musicians such as Baden Powell, Tom Jobim, and Raphael Rabello. When he was 17, he played for the first time in São Paulo at Circuito Cultural Banco do Brasil, which led to his immediate recognition as one of the most gifted guitar players in Brazil.
Now generally regarded as one of the foremost performers of Brazilian music, Yamandu's performances reveal the deep intimacy between him and his guitar. His music does not fit into a single music style; rather, he has created his own. His gave a memorable performance as part of the 92nd Street Y Guitar Marathon in 2008. His performance on the NYCCGS Concert Series will be his first full solo concert in the United States. (("... an incredible facility on the instrument ... Yamandu Costa is a very special musician."- Classical Guitar magazine))
Members of the New York Brazilian Portuguese Meetup group will get 10% off the ticket price for this concert. Check http://www.meetup.com/BrazilianPortuguese for more details.
For more information, check: http://www.yamandu.com.br
To buy tickets, check https://web.ovationtix.com or 646-312-5073 or 866-811-4111.
Baruch Performing Arts Center
55 Lexington Ave (at 25th St)
New York, NY 10010
Yara Aquino and Renata Giraldi Reporters Agência Brasil
Brasília – As threats of further sanctions against Iran are aired in the United States and Europe because of its nuclear program, president Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, at the BRICS summit in India, reproved what she called “rhetorical protests,” saying that what was needed were dialogue and peaceful negotiations. In comments made at the close of the 4th BRICS summit, Dilma warned of the danger of aggravated tensions due to more restrictions on Iran.
“Brazil does not agree with rhetorical protests that raise the temperature of the discussion. We consider the measures blocking Iran’s ability to make purchases extremely dangerous, even though we do not have commercial relations with them. Now the fact is that other countries do and the purchases are important,” Dilma declared, adding that Brazil is in favor of nuclear research for peaceful purposes and defends Iran’s right to a nuclear program.
In other comments, Dilma condemned “indiscriminate sanctions in Palestine that only deteriorate relations as a whole.”
With regard to Syria, Dilma said that Brazil supported the Kofi Annan mission that was sponsored by the Arab League and the United Nations and its efforts to obtain a ceasefire and the creation of a humanitarian corridor.
Iolando Lourenço Reporter Agência Brasil
Brasília – The 2014 World Soccer Cup law (“Lei Geral da Copa”) approved yesterday, March 28, by the Chamber of Deputies, liberates the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages during soccer games by not prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Specifically, the bill suspends Article 13 of the Soccer Fan Statute ("Estatuto do Torcedor") that prohibits alcoholic beverages at Brazilian soccer games. The statute is a federal law from 2003. The anti-drinking provisions date from 2010 but never really went into effect because they lacked appropriate legislation (“regulamentação”). Even so, some five states do have state laws prohibiting alcoholic beverages at soccer games. Therefore, the bill allows FIFA to negotiate with those states and any other states with informal prohibitions. FIFA did not include such negotiations in its executive power-plan for managing the 2014 World Cup.
The bill that will become law and govern the country for a couple of weeks in the middle of the year 2014 will also permit state governors to decree holidays on days when World Cup games take place in their states. And, last but not least, the federal government will decree national holidays on the days that Brazil’s national soccer team plays.
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English – content modified