Beyond the News
The American vice-president Joe Biden is landing in Brazil today as part of a third leg trip of a tour in Latin America that already included Trinidad & Tobago and Colombia; and he is carrying a “heavy” agenda for his two overnights stay in the largest South-American country. He knows that there is a lot at stake in this trip!
Brazil economy grew quickly in the last decade and the new oil sources in its coast made the world overwhelmed with the country’s potential in the years ahead. And probably here is the main reason why Biden is visiting Rio de Janeiro today. He wants to know what comes next.
An article published today by Bloomberg says that “the Latin America visits come as the International Monetary Fund forecasts the region’s economies will expand 3.4 percent this year, almost three times the pace of growth in the developed world”. Would that explain it all? Not really.
This same article mentions another interesting detail: “In Rio, Biden will tour a research facility operated by state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA”. That said, it is easy to see that Mr. Biden is going to Brazil to simply take a close look inside Brazil rather than come up with business talks.
Free trading agreement has been on American agenda for ages, and it would not be different at this stage when South-America is emerging quickly. Nevertheless, US has on its tail China, which is clearly a tough competitor, especially putting into account that Brazil and China are part of the BRICS and hence, they can easily work with bilateral accords if necessary, while US need to “show the money” to play.
My feeling is that Joe Biden is going to Brazil with a sole objective to “take notes”. Any move at this stage when Chinese President Xi Jinping is also travelling around Latin America could be painful for the American economy and diplomacy with Brazil; and Brazilian leaders are aware of it!
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what will come up next. Mr. Biden will soon return home and present a detailed report to President Barack Obama, who will receive Brazilian President Dilma Roussef at the White House this year. The dates have yet to be confirmed, but it will be sometime in October. However, most importantly, is that if anyone expects some action from either side right now, better wait until Mrs Roussef step in Washington, even because this might be a State Visit, the first one since 1995 when Fernando Henrique Cardoso encountered Bill Clinton.