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Calderón And Lula Call For “New Era” In Relations Between Mexico And Brazil

By Dialogo
August 19, 2009

The presidents of Mexico and Brazil, Felipe Calderón and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, called for a “new era” in relations between the two Latin American giants, with an effort to increase trade and possible cooperation agreements in the oil sector. “It’s inconceivable, from the economic perspective, that the bilateral trade between two countries that have 300 million inhabitants between them, with more or less equivalent GDP and similar per capita income, is 7.4 billion dollars. It’s incomprehensible. That’s nothing,” Lula said in an address at the foreign ministry after a two-hour meeting. The Brazilian president emphasized that he has dreamed for several years of “a Mexico looking toward South America, just as I have dreamed of Brazil paying more attention to Central America and the Caribbean. We need a new era in relations” between our countries, he said. For his part, Calderón supported Lula’s declarations when he affirmed that “Mexico and Brazil represent almost 70% of Latin America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and therefore it’s not conceivable that two such strong economies have this level of trade relations.” In the meeting at the foreign ministry, Calderón and Lula touched on a variety of alternatives for promoting trade in accordance with the level of the two countries. One of the alternatives analyzed was the promotion of a cooperation agreement between the state oil companies Pemex and Petrobras. President Calderón himself met with the head of Petrobras, Sergio Gabrielli, in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. Another possibility was floated by Calderón on Saturday in a meeting with Brazilian entrepreneurs: opening discussions to negotiate a free-trade agreement between the two countries. “Free-trade agreements benefit everyone. Mexico currently has agreements of this kind with forty-four countries, and Brazilian entrepreneurs could benefit from being part of an understanding of this kind,” Calderón noted.