RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Last month, the Brazilian Ambassador to the United States, Nestor Forster Jr., was received by U.S. President Joe Biden. Two weeks ago, Brazilian and U.S. diplomats met in Brasilia for a “high-level dialogue” to discuss the bilateral agenda between the two countries.
According to Itamaraty, they discussed topics such as “supporting democratic governance,” “promoting economic prosperity,” and “strengthening cooperation in defense, security, and peacebuilding.”
The high-level dialogue is held at regular intervals and brings together delegations from both governments for the first time.
The rapprochement with the Biden administration – and rapprochement with the U.S. – is celebrated by the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Diplomats point out that the meeting is part of the strategic dialogues and symbolizes a plan to fine-tune the dialogue between the countries.
Itamaraty expects the talks to develop further economic, diplomatic, and political relations between the two countries.
The Brazilian government knows that the United States is an important trading partner, but it also knows that a political relationship can be built.
Even the alleged warning by the Director of U.S. Intelligence, CIA, William Burns, that President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) should not challenge the elections is not enough to shake the relationship-building process.
The Brazilian government has called the case “fake news,” and Brazilian diplomats classify the alleged speech as “noise.”
The CIA director was in Brasilia early last July and attended a meeting at the Planalto Palace.
What Brazil and the United States stand to gain from rapprochement
COUNTRIES CAN BENEFIT FROM RAPPROCHEMENT
From an economic and commercial perspective, Brazil gains a partner committed to helping the country find alternative sources of fertilizer, which are of great importance to Brazil’s agricultural industry.
Although they compete in the production of commodities, the U.S. has committed to bringing them closer to U.S. producers and partner countries.
Ambassador Pedro Miguel da Costa e Silva, Itamaraty’s secretary for the Americas, and the U.S. State Department confirmed to BBC News Brazil that the fertilizer plan plays a role in talks between the two countries.
And while the report indicates that Brazilian producers were already aware of the potential exporters named by the U.S., Itamaraty’s gesture is still appreciated.
Government officials told Gazeta do Povo that the rapprochement between the two nations improves the dialogue channel and makes it possible to move forward on several treaties, including U.S. support for Brazil’s accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), one of the main goals of Brazilian foreign policy.
The U.S., in turn, sees rapprochement with Brazil as an opportunity to strengthen its position in Latin America and show Russian President Vladimir Putin the power of Joe Biden, a Brazilian diplomat told BBC News Brazil, saying Itamaraty is satisfied with “the current cooperation.”
U.S. diplomats interviewed by BBC News Brazil believe that it is necessary to get closer to allies and friendly countries, especially in light of the war in Ukraine.
“This shows that Brazil has economic, political, and diplomatic importance to the United States. And it is in our interest to belong to the OECD,” an interlocutor of Itamaraty told Gazeta do Povo.
There is an expectation among Brazilian and U.S. diplomats that the rapprochement can be finally “sealed” with Bolsonaro’s participation in the 9th Summit of the Americas, held in Los Angeles in June. The U.S. delegation invited the Brazilian president.
According to diplomats, it is customary for Bolsonaro to attend this type of event. There are even incentives from his ministerial team for him to travel to the Summit of the Americas, but he has the final say.
If he does not accept the invitation, Brazil will likely be represented by Foreign Minister Carlos Alberto França or Vice President Hamilton Mourão.
Senator Nelsinho Trad (PSD-MS), party leader and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations and National Defense Committee, does not consider the Brazil-U.S. dialogues a rapprochement, assuming there has been no break in relations but assesses the recent gestures positively.
“Brazil has continued to cooperate with the United States in various areas such as health, science, and technology – especially related to Covid-19 – and trade. The presidents may not have a deep, empathetic relationship, but as heads of state, they have maintained goodwill,” analyzes Trad.
Regarding fertilizer as an issue that has brought the two countries closer, the PSD chief understands that Brazil’s demand for the United States is natural.
“It’s like any other country that they think has potential influence, a trade partnership, it’s natural. In this time of war, fertilizers are on the agenda, but our country has not indicated shortage, even a plan to prepare, so there is no shortage of this input, “he says.
The chairman of the Parliamentary Front for Agriculture and Livestock (FPA), MP Sérgio Souza (MDB-PR), considers it natural that countries strengthen their political, diplomatic, and trade relations in the current situation, stressing that dialogue is essential to increase the production of cereals and food and ensure the food security of the planet.
Souza, who is also vice-chairman of the MDB, advocates that Brazil seek as many partners and producers as possible to ensure the importation of fertilizers by Brazilian farmers. Although fertilizers are not directly affected by U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia, the agricultural industry is concerned that an embargo could occur.
“We are very concerned about a possible embargo on fertilizers from Russia. Fertilizer is food for the plant, the plant produces food for humanity, and then there is the whole issue of food security,” he says. Although Brazilian growers have adequate commodity supplies for this year’s crop, there are concerns about imports for future harvests.
For this reason, the FPA president has scheduled a meeting next week with Brazilian Chancellor Carlos França to discuss the issue and understand the government’s efforts to mitigate potential impacts. “We are concerned about a future embargo that would prevent us from buying fertilizer from Russia and Belarus,” he stressed.