Trade Secretary Says Brazil Must Reform Its Economic and Trade Policies

For secretary who joined team that signed understanding with EU, treaty will not bear fruit without the approval of reforms

Ricardo Della Coletta Leandro Colon

Foreign Trade Secretary Marcos Troyjo says that Jair Bolsonaro's government was decisive in pulling off the free trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union.

Troyjo joined the Brazilian team in Brussels that closed the last points of the agreement, announced on Friday (28).

He told Folha that the “unity" of Bolsonaro administration's administration was instrumental in the success of the negotiations.

But the secretary warns: the Mercosur-European Union agreement will only succeed if Brazil does its internal reforms, including the tax and social security reforms. "The big trade agreement that Brazil has to make is with itself," he said.

Marcos Troyjo. Foto: Keiny Andrade/Folhapress

Why was the deal closed now?

There is trade tension in the world. US relations with China are in a difficult phase, and Brexit, which could have a domino effect on the European Union, which many fear. There is also the unity thesis, and this seems to be the winner - Europeans showed that they are on accord as well. And Argentina, which has always been refractory, has changed its position.

But all this is important, not decisive. The determinant was what happened with Brazil. President Bolsonaro and Minister Paulo Guedes [Economy], with a fine line between the Itamaraty, who coordinates the negotiations, with the trade policy formation part. Trade policy was at the heart of economic policy.

But other governments in Brazil were also interested in closing the deal. It was 20 years of negotiation.

If you take different moments of public administration in Brazil, there was always a lot of dissent. Here [in the Bolsonaro government], there is a lot of cohesion.

The Temer government advanced the negotiations with the European Union, but the chapters of manufactured goods, services, government procurement, agriculture, and technology transfer were still open. There was still a lot to do.

This is an association agreement, not just a commercial one. One of the main things we are going to see is the DNA change in foreign direct investment in Brazil. It is also inaccurate to say that it has 20 years of work. For example, I like to play basketball. I played basketball here in Brasilia when I lived here for many years. Now I'm back to playing basketball, that does not mean I've played 20 years.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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