Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo to hold talks with US counterpart

Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo will meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today in Washington to discuss religious

pompeo Ernesto Araujo

Photo: US State Department/Flickr

Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo will meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today in Washington to discuss religious freedom.

The meeting follows a trend of warming of ties between the two largest economies in the Americas. Since the election of right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro, often dubbed “Brazil’s Trump,” the two leaders have heaped praise on one another and expressed interest in establishing closer ties between their respective countries.

Indeed, in July, President Trump announced that he will seek a free trade agreement with Brazil. Though the countries exchanged more than $100 billion in goods and services last year, key protectionist policies on both sides hinder further integration. Washington restricts access to its sugar market and maintains a ban on fresh Brazilian beef imports, while Brasilia limits US access to its ethanol market.

To get talks rolling, Brazil might renew a zero-tariff quota this month for 600,000 tonnes of ethanol and agree to an import quota of 750,000 tonnes of US wheat. In exchange, Washington is likely to continue backing Brazil’s accession bid to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development—a necessity if Brasilia wishes to attract greater levels of foreign investment.

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