Itamaraty And Ministry Of Economy Fight Over Trade Negotiations

Diplomats fear that new "superministry" will lead discussions usually assigned to them

Patrícia Campos Mello
São Paulo

The upper echelon of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also known as Itamaraty, is concerned that the new Ministry of Economy might take over some of its duties during bilateral trade negotiations.

The discomfort started when the Bolsonaro administration created a "superministry" for economist Paulo Guedes, which would be responsible for "financial and economic negotiations with foreign governments, multilateral organizations, and government agencies," as stated by a Jan. 1st executive order.

Brazil's Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo (right) attends a meeting of the Lima Group to discuss Venezuela's situation - REUTERS

Previously the department was only responsible for being part of economic discussions and negotiations with other countries and forums.

But the new executive order states that negotiations of all natures (economic, trade, financial, technical and even cultural) will from now on be shared between Itamaraty and the Ministry of Economy.

Brazilian diplomats say that the change in language, that allows not only for participation but also allows for jurisdiction in such matters will make way for the Ministry Economy to take the lead in trade and economic negotiations with other countries.

The change was not well-received, and high-ranking Itamaraty officers are planning an organizational change that will include a trade negotiation department inside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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