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19/03/2011 - 20h42

On the first day of his visit, Obama emphasizes US-Brazil trade relations



American President Barack Obama arrived in Brasília at 7:42 AM. Obama and his family, first lady Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia, debarked under strong security measures for the first stop in his brief visit to Brazil.

Soon after, around 10 AM, he met Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, a historical occasion because it meant the first African-American president of the United States was meeting with the first woman president of Brazil.

Obama spoke, albeit only superficially, about Brazilian efforts to secure a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. "The US will work at reforms that will make the Security Council into a more efficient, effective and representative body, to further the image of a more cooperative world".

Obama also spoke about partnerships between Brazil and the US in the economic, education and innovation fields. He said that his choosing Brazil as the first stop for his Latin American trip was no accident.

"It was not an accident. The friendship between our countries is two-centuries old. Our scientists and researchers are developing vaccines together. Our teachers and students are creating new horizons and we working towards growing together", stated the American president.

Obama stressed however, that much was left to be done for bilateral trade, and that he would listen to the businessmen regarding priorities.

"We will listen to the businessmen so as to understand what the future stages should be, to expand trade relations and sign agreements for additional scientific cooperation", said Obama.


President Obama spoke at the headquarters of the Brazilian Industry Federation, in Brasilia, and emphasized the possibilities of partnerships between the two nations, mentioning trade, energy, infrastructure and education. The American leader said that Brazil used to be defined as a country for the future, but that this future has now arrived and America wants to help the Brazilians in enlarging their global economic profile.

Obama started by saying that being in Brazil was a great joy, and thanking his hosts also on behalf of his wife Michelle for the warm welcome the family received.

Obama added that it was a pity that he had to come only days after the Carnival, and said: "My only regret is that we missed the party by coming a few weeks after Carnival. Maybe that's the best -- since I'm not sure I would have had the same level of productivity from my staff".

He said that in the last two centuries, there was never such a promising moment for Brazil, and pointed out that Brazil is now the seventh largest economy worldwide and achieved stability in the last few years.

"So what has been accomplished here in Brazil is nothing short of remarkable", said Obama to an audience of businessmen. "It's often been said that Brazil is a country for the future. Well, that future has now arrived".

Among the areas for partnership between the two countries, Obama mentioned bilateral trade, which would create jobs in both countries. "So there is no question that the United States and Brazil benefit from the economic ties we've developed over the years".

To make this partnership even better, Obama said that he and President Rousseff would reach a deal for new dialog that would make possible that the US deals with Brazil in the same way that it deals with China and India. That statement was received with a loud ovation by the audience.


Obama also spoke about energy. "The oil you recently discovered off the shores of Brazil could amount to twice the reserves we have in the United States", he said, adding that the US want to help Brazil with the technology needed to extract it and, when Brazil is ready to begin selling the commodity, "we want to be one of your best customers".

Obama also said that the two countries are expanding their cooperation on biofuels.

Another point dealt with by Obama was infrastructure. He mentioned the World Soccer Cup of 2014, to be hosted by Brazil -"the only nation that's a five-time champion -- although the U.S. is getting better, you have to admit. We're getting better"- and the 2016 Summer Olympics. And, although claiming to be sad for Rio having defeated his hometown Chicago, he said that his country does not want to just watch from the stands.

"American companies stand ready to help you meet this challenge", for instance in the engineering and construction fields.


After a quick talk with the directors of soccer club Flamengo, early on Sunday, Obama will go on a visit to the Christ the Redeemer statue, one of the main Rio de Janeiro landmarks. Riotur has informed that public visitation bat the statue will be suspended from Midnight Saturday to 11 AM on Sunday.

Later, he will visit the Cidade de Deus slum, in western Rio. On Friday (March 18), 100 soldiers from the Brazilian army rehearsed for Obama's visit.

After leaving Cidade de Deus, the American president will meet State officials for a luncheon and from there he will go to Theatro Municipal, for a speech scheduled for 3 PM.






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