US must strengthen ties with Brazil - US commerce official

Lack of engagement has paved the way for others
calendar icon 8 April 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

The Biden administration is not doing enough to forge a long-term alliance with Brazil, Myron Brilliant, the US Chamber of Commerce's head of the international affairs division, told a press conference in Sao Paulo on Thursday.

"In my candid view, I don't think the Biden administration is doing enough to focus on this region," he said of the world's ninth largest economy, adding part of the reason is the US domestic agenda.

Brilliant said the lack of US engagement across Latin America means "opportunities are not developed (nor is a) long-term strategic plan in the way that we would hope."

The absence of the US has paved the way for other partners to liaise and do business with Brazil, reported Reuters.

"What we have seen in the last decade is a significant rise of Chinese investment and engagement in the region," Brilliant said. "We are also seeing Russian engagement. We would say that the US has to be present."

The US is Brazil's second most important trade partner, behind China. The difference is that Brazil runs a trade surplus with the Asian country, and a deficit with the US.

Brazil and the US compete as exporters of agriculture commodities like soy, meat and corn.

In the first quarter of the year, Brazil ran a $3.8 billion trade deficit with the US and $4.7 billion surplus with China, according to Brazilian government data.

The US accounted for about 11% of Brazil's overall exports in the period while China was almost 28%, the data showed.

"Defining trade in terms of deficit and surplus is a mistake," Brilliant said. "Important for us is to have a level playing field."

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