Chirac tries to drum up French trade on Brazil trip

26th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

BRASILIA, May 26, 2006 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac left here for Santiago Friday after a two-day visit which reaffirmed France's relationship with South America's largest economy.

BRASILIA, May 26, 2006 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac left here for Santiago Friday after a two-day visit which reaffirmed France's relationship with South America's largest economy.

Chirac held talks with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during which the French leader urged his countrymen to invest in Brazil, which he described as France's "strategic partner".

The two sides signed accords on a partnership for producing helicopter bodies, the sale of carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol and the production in Brazil of observation radars for the world market.

Chirac was scheduled to arrive in Santiago on Friday for a two-day visit that will include a meeting with President Michele Bachelet.

Chirac urged more French investment in Brazil Thursday speaking ahead of a meeting here with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to discuss ways of improving trade and commerce links.

Chirac, on the second day of a two-day state visit, urged locally based French business leaders to consider investment opportunities in Brazil, which he described as a French "strategic partner".

French business concerns see Brazil as a "remote and difficult" market, but those who invest "can still take over significant portions of the Brazilian market."

Brazil "will probably be one of the great countries that will dominate the world economy in 2050," leading growth in Latin America, he said.

One business participant however lamented that France appeared more interested in investing in China and India than in Brazil. Chirac responded by saying Brazil "has relatively modest growth for an emerging country".

Brazil's economy grew 2.3 percent in 2005, far below China's 9.9 percent and India's 8.1 percent.

Chirac also claimed that Brazil is realizing that forming alliances with other emerging economies such as Russia, India and China is not a recipe for growth.

"The theory of uniting the exploited — increasingly less exploited — is not necessarily the best option for (Brazil's) own development," he said.

The Lula administration has been pushing for alliances with countries with emerging economies, and is a strong supporter of the G-20, countries that oppose the agricultural subsidies of developed nations.

Agricultural subsidies are one of the few issues in which France and Brazil deeply disagree about.

Chirac arrived late Wednesday along with five government ministers and a large delegation of business leaders, including executives from Alstom, Saint-Gobain, Areva, Suez and Thales.

It is Chirac's third visit to Brazil.

Lula's government has backed Chirac's proposal to impose a tax on international air travel to help finance efforts against AIDS in poor countries, while Paris has endorsed Brazil's campaign for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article