Brazil ready to help ‘lift’ Portuguese economy with investment
Portuguese and Brazilian leaders have agreed to bolster trade and investment ties at a time of crisis in Europe and of surging growth and influence in the Latin American powerhouse.
Prime Minister José Sócrates and President Lula da Silva sealed the new dynamic in the traditionally strong trans-Atlantic relationship last week during a blitz summit in Lisbon at which seven cooperation accords were signed.
“If anything marks the relations between the two countries, it is that we have moved to a phase of economic affirmation”, Portugal’s Sócrates said, pointing to recent Brazilian investment in the country.
“Times [of crisis] require of us an engagement in this domain”, he added.
Da Silva, who ended a week-long trip to five countries with a six-hour visit to Lisbon, said he was “pleased” that the two Lusophone countries were “finally joined in an extraordinary thing”, with Brazil in a position to “help lift the Portuguese economy”.
The world faced a “unique” economic and financial crisis at a time when Brazil is seeing an “exceptional moment” of growth, he said, recalling that in recent, pre-crisis years Portuguese companies had invested €20 billion in Brazil.
The two leaders’ comments came after government and business delegations signed seven cooperation agreements during the 10th Lisbon-Brasilia summit, among them an accord between the two countries’ oil companies, Galp Energia and Petrobras, to invest €357 million in a biofuels project.
Also in the energy sector, they agreed to pool technical and scientific resources for research in the deep Atlantic.
Other accords, dealt with a common fight against gender inequalities and doping in sports, and cooperation between Portugal and Rio de Janeiro State in solid waste management.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates was this week paying official visits to Brazil and Venezuela, where he met the two countries’ presidents.
Prime Minister Sócrates was expected to discuss trade and energy issues with Brazil’s Lula da Silva and Venzuela’s Hugo Chávez.
The first leg of his visit will take him to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro on Thursday and Friday, where his talks with da Silva will follow up on last week’s bilateral summit in Lisbon.
Mr Sócrates then flies to Caracas on Saturday, which he visited for the first time in 2008.
In his meetings with Hugo Chávez, the prime minister was expected to discuss energy policy, particularly in regard to renewable energy technology.
Lisbon’s Economy Minister José Vieira da Silva recently said Portuguese companies have the know-how to assist Venezuela in that area.
The Venezuela trip was decided in a recent phone conversation between Prime Minister Sócrates and President Chávez, according to a Caracas foreign office memo.
That conversation was a result of the “permanent high level dialogue between the two governments”, and both leaders committed to “mutually help each other to mitigate the effects [of the global financial crisis] and stimulate economic growth paired with social justice”, the memo stated. TPN/Lusa